Scientists in Japan say they were shocked when they saw asteroid dust inside a capsule delivered through the Hayabusa-2 space probe.
The Japanese investigation collected surface dust and key material last year from the asteroid Ryugu about 200 meters (300 meters) away in two daring stages of a six-year mission.
This month, it dropped a capsule with samples, which formed a fire as it entered Earth’s atmosphere and landed in the Australian wilderness before heading to Japan.
Scientists at the Japanese space agency Jaxar on Tuesday removed the screws in the inner container of the capsule, already finding a small amount of asteroid dust in the outer shell.
“When we actually opened it, I was speechless. It was more than we expected and there was so much that I was really impressed with, “said Jacques scientist Hirotaka Sowada.
Scientists hope that this element will shed light on the structure of the universe and perhaps provide some idea of how life began on Earth.
They have yet to reveal whether the ingredients inside are equal, or perhaps more, higher than the 0.1 grams they said they discovered.
Saichiro Watanabe, a scientist at the Hayabusar project and a professor at Nagoya University, said he was still thrilled. “Lots [of samples] And they seem to have a lot of organic matter in them, “he said.” So I hope we can learn a lot about how organic matter developed in Ryugur’s ancestral body. “
Half of the samples of Hayabusa-2 will be shared between JAXA, US space agency NASA and other international agencies. The rest will be kept for future study as progress is made in analytical technology.
However, the search is not over, which will now begin an extended mission targeting two new asteroids.