Hot Topic: Hayabusa—Dust from Itokawa

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The Japanese Hayabusa spacecraft returned to Earth on 13 June 2010 carrying within it a precious but invisible cargo - 1534 particles of dust from the surface of the asteroid Itokawa, which the spacecraft visited in 2005. These particles, up to 180 micrometer in size, are the first material ever fetched from an asteroid and returned to Earth for laboratory analysis. In the 26 August 2011 Science, six Reports, plus related news and commentary, discuss the mineralogy, petrography, chemistry, and noble gas and oxygen-isotope compositions of the Itokawa particles, which provide insights into the evolution of the solar system.


Reports

Itokawa Dust Particles: A Direct Link Between S-Type Asteroids and Ordinary Chondrites

Oxygen Isotopic Compositions of Asteroidal Materials Returned from Itokawa by the Hayabusa Mission

Neutron Activation Analysis of a Particle Returned from Asteroid Itokawa

Incipient Space Weathering Observed on the Surface of Itokawa Dust Particles


See also: News story by R. A. Kerr

Three-Dimensional Structure of Hayabusa Samples: Origin and Evolution of Itokawa Regolith

Irradiation History of Itokawa Regolith Material Deduced from Noble Gases in the Hayabusa Samples


Perspective

Bringing Part of an Asteroid Back Home


Related Content

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2 June 2006 | Special Issue

Hayabusa at Asteroid Itokawa

Seven Reports and a Perspective on the Hyabusa mission and its rendezvous with asteroid Itokawa in 2005.
18 May 2007 | Report

Regolith Migration and Sorting on Asteroid Itokawa

Shaking and convection on the asteroid Itokawa has sorted the loose material on its surface, distributing finer grains to lower areas.

See also: Perspective by E. Asphaug

15 April 2011 | News Focus

Prime Science Achieved at Asteroid

Detailed analyses of the sample the Hayabusa spacecraft returned from asteroid Itokawa have confirmed that the most common type of meteorite falls to Earth from a class of asteroids long cloaked by a mysterious discoloration.
22 June 2010 | ScienceInsider

Will Hayabusa's Success Lead to a Space Encore?

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has praised the Hayabusa mission and voiced support for a second asteroid mission.
30 April 2010 | News Focus

Spunky Hayabusa Heads Home With Possible Payload

A record-setting Japanese mission to an asteroid is due to land in June after overcoming a 7-year history of mishaps.

Hayabusa: The Final Approach