Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Hopes High for Asteroid Samples From Japanese Space Capsule




By Tariq Malik
SPACE.com Managing Editor, posted: 14 June 2010, 01:57 pm ET www.space.com
The triumphant Sunday landing of a Japanese space capsule that visited an asteroid and returned to Earth despite near-overwhelming  malfunctions now has scientists around the world asking one final question: Did it actually capture a piece of asteroid Itokawa?

"First, the sample container will be inspected, and then the content will be extracted," said Keiji Tachikawa, president of Japan's space agency JAXA, in a Monday statement.  "We hope to find the Itokawa's surface material in the capsule, and contribute to understanding the origin and evolution of the solar system."



 This still from a NASA video shows the Hayabusa spacecraft as it burned up over Australia during re-entry on June 13, 2010 to cap a 7-year mission to the asteroid Itokawa. Hayabusa ejected a sample return capsule (bright dot at lower right) before burning up. It landed in the Australian outback and has been recovered. Credit: NASA/SETI


 Japan's Hayabusa asteroid sample capsule and parachute are seen in the Australian outback after its historic June 13, 2010 landing. The capsule was jettisoned from its Hayabusa mother ship after a 7-year voyage to the asteroid Itokawa to collect samples. Credit: JAXA


 An artist's concept of Japan's Hayabusa landing on the asteroid Itokawa. Credit: ©Akihiro Ikeshita/JAXA

Source: www.space.com

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