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ItokawaOn Sept. 12, the Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa arrived within about 12 miles of a potato-shaped asteroid named Itokawa. The craft will begin mapping the asteroid and will then attempt to land on the surface in November and bring samples back to Earth.
A NASA probe recently collided with the Comet Tempel 1.
Here some of the first images of Itokawa taken on Sept. 10 from about 19 miles away. Itokawa, named after a Japanese scientist, is an Apollo and Mars-crosser asteroid because it crosses the orbits of both Earth and Mars.