Hot Topic: Hayabusa—Dust from Itokawa


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.


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


Bringing Part of an Asteroid Back Home

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See also: Perspective by E. Asphaug

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