November 27, 2021
Today in 2005, the Japanese probe Hayabusa grazed the surface of the asteroid Itokawa, retrieving material to return to Earth for study. Tiny grains of asteroidal material were returned to Earth aboard the spacecraft in June of 2010. A concise description of the mission may be found here.
Asteroid (25143) Itokawa as viewed by the Hayabusa probe on close approach in 2005. Credit: JAXA