Hayabusa Alive, Scientists Confused

The Planetary Societies Emily Lakdawalla is blogging that Hayabusa tried to land but JAXA ran into communication problems and that the current situation is unclear. There is more information over at website of a blogger (I’m unable to work out his or her name, sorry!) who has been translating the blog of a space journalist (Matsuura San) who is at the press center for the mission.

It appears that JAXA are in two way contact with the probe again after a period of only having a signal (probably just a carrier). The spacecraft was in safe mode, but as JAXA sent an unacknowledged command to go safe it is unclear as to whether it heard them or whether it did it itself as the result of some other problem. They still don’t know if it landed yet, but they do know that it isn’t attached to the asteroid. At first they only had communication via the low gain antenna, but then they were able to reactivate the medium gain antenna from which they are receiving housekeeping data and other telemetry which they believe will tell them if they landed and if the impactor was fired.

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