Japanese spacecraft captured dust from asteroid

Japanese spacecraft captured dust from asteroid

Scientists said today that an analysis of samples from the Hayabusa spacecraft showed that some had come from an asteroid called Itokawa. Such samples could offer insight into the creation and makeup of the solar system.

Hayabusa, launched in 2003, reached the asteroid in 2005 and returned in June. The samples are only the fourth set to be returned from space in history, including moon matter collected by the Apollo missions, comet material by Stardust, and solar matter from the Genesis mission.

Japanese Project Chief Junichiro Kawaguchi said the Hayabusa mission exceeded expectations.

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