The long-suffering Japanese space probe Hayabusa has suffered another setback:
A small hopping robot meant to explore the asteroid Itokawa was lost in space after being released from Japan's Hayabusa spacecraft on Saturday. But mission officials say the main probe will still try to land and collect samples of the space rock at least once before beginning its return flight to Earth in December 2005.
Aviation Week's current issue has more shots of them completely missing the asteroid with a test target last week. If you were only reading mainstream accounts of this thing, you'd probably be surprised by all this, but AvWeek has been chronicling one failure after another ever since it launched. It really is almost a miracle the probe is functioning at all.