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Japan Space Probe Set for Second Landing on Asteroid

A Japanese space probe is preparing to make a second attempt to land on an asteroid to collect samples for study.

The Hayabusa probe successfully touched down on the rotating Itokawa asteroid last Sunday. But the unmanned spacecraft failed to deploy equipment that would collect asteroid material. Japan's space agency says the probe will try again early Saturday local time.

Hayabusa was launched in May of 2003 and is scheduled to return to Earth in June of 2007 after traveling a total of two billion kilometers.

If the mission succeeds, it will be the first time material from an asteroid is brought to Earth, and could help scientists learn more about how the solar system was created.

Some information for this story provided by Reuters and AFP.