Tokyo A Japanese space probe is heading back toward an asteroid for a second landing attempt after failing to touch down over the weekend, officials said Monday.
Communications between the Hayabusa probe and Japan's space agency, JAXA, have returned to normal after the vessel inexplicably stopped short of the asteroid and lost contact with ground control Sunday, the officials said.
The probe is on a mission to land briefly on the asteroid Itokawa. The spacecraft will then collect material and return to Earth.
Officials today will analyze data transmitted by the spacecraft to find out what went wrong over the weekend. A second landing attempt is planned for as early as Friday, JAXA spokesman Toshihisa Horiguchi said.