Japanese space probe brings asteroid dust back to earth

A Japanese space probe that ended a seven-year voyage earlier this year brought back dust from the surface of an asteroid for the first time, Japan’s space agency said on Tuesday.

The unmanned craft Hayabusa, meaning “falcon” in Japanese, was destroyed on re-entry in June, but managed to drop a container bearing the sample after landing on the near-Earth asteroid Itokawa in 2005.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) says the particles may offer clues about how the solar system was formed 4.6 billion years ago.

Asteroids are believed to have retained their original state over time, unlike the Earth’s surface, which has been affected by atmospheric changes, water and volcanic activity.

“There is so much that humans don’t know, such as how the Mo on was formed,” a JAXA spokesman said. “But research, not just into these particles but into other findings, could provide us with hints on how the solar system and the planets were formed.”

Part of the sample would be distributed next year to researchers around the world for further tests, JAXA said.

Itokawa asteroid dust japan naxa near earth

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Posted by on November 19, 2010. Filed under Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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2 Responses to Japanese space probe brings asteroid dust back to earth

  1. squatlo

    November 19, 2010 at 9:51 am

    It’s an astounding accomplishment and might go far toward helping explain the beginnings of our galaxy. Or it might be The Andromeda Strain brought back to earth, carrying an alien virus we have no antibodies, vaccine, or cure for…
    Just sayin’…
    Glad I got that K-Mart Haz-Mat suit on sale last week! I’ll get my duct tape out and go down into the bunker and ride out the pandemic.

    • Holte Ender

      November 19, 2010 at 11:25 am

      K-Mart and duct tape, that’ll save ya. LoL.