ODT/NZPA: Scientists hopeful space capsule will reveal secrets

The Japanese space capsule, hopefully containing the first asteroid samples to be brought back to earth, has successfully landed in South Australia.

The capsule was launched in 2003 and supposed to return in 2007 – technical issues delayed its arrival.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“The capsule will return to Japan before scientists discover whether it carries any asteroid dust in its sample canister.

“”It’ll be some time before we know if we’ve got sample, and if so, how much – I don’t think we can assume anything,” Sandford said.

“The Japanese space agency said the aim of the $US200 million ($NZ286.4 million) project was to understand the origin and evolution of the solar system, as well as paving the way for future sample return missions.

“Sakamoto said any samples from an asteroid, considered the building blocks of planets, could also shed light on the origins of the Earth.”