This ranks right up there in the “WOW! Why didn’t I know about this before?” category! I talk about the Japanese Hayabusa mission to asteroid 25143 Itokawa in my lecture about asteroids – with it being the first asteroid sample return mission, it bears mentioning! I knew there were some problems with the sample collection mechanism, but I never knew about all the problems with the ion engines and reaction wheels! It’s amazing that the spacecraft made it back to Earth at all! Those Hackers… errr… mission specialists and engineers, are superheroes!
I learned about the heroic efforts to get Hayabusa back to Earth in this video by Scott Manley:
Asteroid 25143 Itokawa
Interactive 3D visualization of asteroid 25143 Itokawa from NASA’s Eyes on Asteroids webapp:
Scott Manley is a Scottish science communication YouTuber, gamer, astrophysicist, and programmer. His videos on YouTube taught me and countless others how to do things in Kerbal Space Program – such as getting into orbit, getting to other planets and moons, and landing on them. Scott is directly responsible for quite a few people around the world understanding the basics of orbital mechanics.
Scott did a series about the history of communications satellites – which is just fantastic! I recognize many of the satellites Scott mentions from my childhood – little did I know then how much they were about to change the world! Scott has several videos about space history, and does frequent “current event” videos about space programs across the globe.