Hayabusa Returns

What sounds like a Japanese game title is actually what really happened recently. Space geekout time! The Japanese space probe Hayabusa returned to Earth. And by returned to Earth I mean it burned up in the atmosphere over Australia.

But wait! I wouldn’t mention such thing if they wasn’t a hook. Hayabusa brought something back! A small re-entry capsule was released from the probe and it survived the descent. It has been recovered and is currently being investigated. The capsule might carry samples from AN ASTEROID!

Actually Hayabusa was quite an ambitious mission. The idea was to get to a small asteroid (500m length). The probe was equipped with a modern hi-tech ion drive and it carried a small lander that was supposed to land on the asteroid and even hop around on it.

But it all went terribly wrong. A series of malfunctions resulted in Hayabusa losing the small lander when it was deployed. But the probe had still a mission to do. The actual probe itself landed on the asteroid to take a couple of samples.

hayabusa shadow

Self Portrait: Hayabusa takes a photo of its own shadow hovering above the surface of an asteroid.

Unfortunately, that landing didn’t go perfect either and it is not entirely clear if samples have been collected or not. Nevertheless, Hayabusa successfully managed to return back to earth and we can finally find out if was able to gather some asteroid goodies in spite of all the difficulties.

Make no mistakes. The story of the mission may sound a bit disappointing but it is actually the most ambitious sample return mission humanity has yet attempted. The fact that the sample container made it all the way to an asteroid and back is quite an achievement. There are quite good chances that there are samples of the asteroid in the capsule to be found. So there is plenty of reasons to get excited! I’m certainly am. Here is a final image for today, a Manga re-imagination of the probe returning with the sample. Cute and weird at the same time, isn’t it?

hayabusa manga

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

2 responses to “Hayabusa Returns”

  1. sirleto

    cute. no we have ALIEN ASTEROID MATERIAL on our earth and i bet soon it will vanish, grow and then TAKE OVER THE WORLD *muhaha?*

    1. Krystian Majewski

      Hahah, yeah sounds like the plot of a Sci-Fi story… you know what? I actually read a Sci-fi novel that went almost exactly like that. It’s an easy read, I recommend:



The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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