Japanese Space Officials Eager To Analyze Asteroid Samples

In this photo provided by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), a capsule, center, dropped by Hayabusa2 is seen before being retrieved in Woomera, southern Australia, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020. A Japanese capsule carrying the first samples of asteroid subsurface shot across the night atmosphere early Sunday before successfully landing in the remote Australian Outback, completing a mission to provide clues to the origin of the solar system and life on Earth. (JAXA via AP)

(AP) — Japanese space officials say they are excited about the return of a capsule that safely landed in Australian Outback on Sunday while carrying soil samples from a distant asteroid so they can start analyzing what they say are treasures inside. The capsule’s delivery by the Hayabusa2 spacecraft completes its six-year sample-return mission and opens the door for research into finding clues to the origin of the solar system and life on Earth. The capsule will be packed in a container as soon as its preliminary treatment at an Australian lab is finished and brought back to Japan this week, according to Satoru Nakazawa, a project sub-manager.


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