Unfortunately for the tiny PROCYON spacecraft, AAA doesn’t offer roadside assistance in space. The Japanese space agency’s probe was en route to the binary asteroid 2000 DP107, but its ion engines stopped working in March. Following several attempts to restart the engines, the agency announced May 8 that the probe is officially dead.
PROCYON, which is only about 60 centimeters on a side, hitched a ride into space with the Hayabusa 2 probe in December. Hayabusa is Japan’s second mission to pilfer pebbles from an asteroid and return them to Earth. PROCYON was launched to test drive technologies for small, low-cost spacecraft.