Hayabusa Nabbed Asteroid Particles

An electron micrograph of the edge of a special Teflon spatula that scraped the interior surfaces of Hayabusa’s sample return capsule. Credit: JAXA

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has confirmed that the tiny particles inside the Hayabusa spacecraft’s sample return container are in fact from the asteroid Itokawa. Scientists examined the particles to determine if the probe successfully captured and brought back anything from the asteroid, and in a press release said “about 1,500 grains were identified as rocky particles, and most were determined to be of extraterrestrial origin, and definitely from Asteroid Itokawa.”

These are the first samples from an asteroid ever returned to Earth; the only other extraterrestrial samples brought back to Earth came from the Apollo missions to the Moon. See correction, below. (…) Read the rest of Confirmed: Hayabusa Nabbed Asteroid Particles (315 words)

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