Radio NZ: Spacecraft lands in Australian outback

A Japanese space capsule which, hopefully, contains the first asteroid sample to be brought back to Earth, has landed in South Australia.

The mission was launched in 2003, and was supposed to return in 2007 – unexpected technical errors delayed its return from the Itokawa asteroid.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

The Hayabusa explorer incinerated on re-entry after jettisoning a capsule believed to contain asteroid dust.

The capsule parachuted to Earth within the Woomera Prohibited Area, a military zone 485 kilometres northwest of Adelaide.

The capsule has been located and scientists will now have to determine whether it is intact, and whether it contains asteroid samples.