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[i]A Japanese spacecraft is likely to have failed in its landmark mission to collect the first-ever samples from an asteroid and also faces trouble returning to Earth, the space program said Wednesday.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency had earlier said the Hayabusa probe "most probably" succeeded in gathering dust from the Itokawa asteroid, 290 million kilometers (180 million miles) from Earth, in late November.
"But now we found that the possibility is very high that a metal bullet to collect samples was actually not fired," said an official of the agency, which operates the probe.[/i]
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