A group of astronomers from NASA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and other organizations had a front row seat to observe the Hayabusa spacecraft's fiery plunge into Earth's atmosphere. The team flew aboard NASA's DC-8 airborne laboratory, packed with cameras and other imaging instruments, to capture the high-speed re-entry over an unpopulated area of central Australia on June 13, 2010. The Japanese spacecraft completed its seven-year, 1.25 billion mile journey to return a sample of the asteroid Itokawa."Hayabusa Asteroid Mission Comes Home" (Thanks, Jim Leftwich!)
David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.