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ExoLance
Dust found in Hayabusa capsule
Posted: Thu, Jul 8, 2010, 5:23 AM ET (0923 GMT)
Hayabusa spacecraft illus. (JAXA) Japanese scientists have found traces of dust in a sample return capsule from the Hayabusa spacecraft that may be from an asteroid visited by the spacecraft. Officials with the Japanese space agency JAXA said they have detected "minute particles" in the capsule, which returned to Earth last month, the only surviving portion of the spacecraft that visited the asteroid Itokawa. Scientists cautioned, though, that the dust may not be from the asteroid but instead could be from deep space. Weeks of detailed analysis will be needed before scientists can identify the dust's origins. Among the problems experienced by Hayabusa during its mission was a problem with its sample collection system, raising doubts even before the spacecraft returned to Earth that it had successfully collected any samples of the asteroid.
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