Bits of Space: The Return of Hayabusa and the Impact of Asteroid 2008 TC3 in Sudan

Bits of Space: The Return of Hayabusa and the Impact of Asteroid 2008 TC3 in Sudan

Dr. Peter Jenniskens, NASA Ames Research Center / SETI Institute
Saturday 12th June 3:00-4:00pm @ VSSEC

Meteor astronomer, Dr. Peter Jenniskens, is visiting Australia in the company of 26 other researchers from NASA, JAXA, the University of Southern Queensland and many other institutions worldwide. They are here to monitor the return of the Hayabusa spacecraft, a JAXA mission that is expected to return to Earth a small sample of asteroid Itokawa in the evening of June 13. If successful, this will be the first time that an asteroid sample is brought back to Earth by a space mission. Dr. Jenniskens will be at VSSEC this Saturday to discuss his work.

Dr. Jenniskens and his colleagues are especially interested in testing how well the return capsule's heat shield performs. NASA Ames Research Center is known for its research on thermal protection systems. They will arrive in NASA's DC-8 research aircraft and will observe the Hayabusa reentry from the air.

When: Saturday 12th June, 2010
3:00 - 4:00pm
: VSSEC @ Strathmore Secondary College
400 Pascoe Vale Rd, Strathmore
Seats are limited. To book a seat please email

Dr. Jenniskens is best known for one of the more interesting planetary research stories of the past several years - that of the 2008 TC3 asteroid impact in Sudan. 2008 TC3 is the first asteroid to be detected in space before it impacted Earth - just 20 hours before impact.

It served as a test of NASAs near Earth Object Warning System, and involved rapid international cooperation and observation. It was also expected to vaporize in the atmosphere, so it was surprising when Peter found meteorites with the help of Muawia Dhaddad and 45 of his students at the University of Khartoum. Even more, the meteorites turned out to be rare ureilites, now linked to a rare cless of asteroid. It really is a great story on many levels. For all the details of this expedition visit

If you are interested in this talk you might also be interested in [intlink id="1670" type="page"]Welcome Back Hayabusa! Videolink between Questacon, Miraikan and VSSEC[/intlink] on Sunday 6th June 3:30 - 5:00pm

You might also be interested in following the group of teachers visiting Japan as part of the [intlink id="188" type="page"]It IS Rocket Science![/intlink] program.