Scientists have shared details of the alien soil and rock samples that landed on Earth following a space recovery project.
Small fragments taken from an asteroid named Ryugu were scooped up by the Hayabusa2 spacecraft that touched in Australia earlier this month.
The samples were onboard the spacecraft that was sent by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency on a 372-million mile round trip.
After the samples landed back on Earth on December 5, scientists have now studied the rocks and soil that were recovered from the giant space rock.
Japan Today reports that one piece of rock recovered measured one centimetre and showed evidence of being durable as it didn’t break while being handled.
Last week, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency revealed that some of the samples already examined from the probe contained sand-like granules.
It is believed the sandy particles were from the top surface of the asteroid.
The rockier sample was gathered after the spacecraft sent to retrieve samples drilled beneath the surface from a second landing point on the rock.
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Japan today explained; “To get the second set of samples in July last year, Hayabusa2 dropped an impactor to blast below the asteroid's surface, collecting material from the crafter so it would be unaffected by space radiation and other environmental factors.”
Meanwhile, Tomohiro Usui from the research group, told the publication that the two types of sample prove there is a difference to the surface of asteroids depending what area a spacecraft would land on.
He said: “One possibility is that the place of the second touchdown was a hard bedrock and larger particles broke and entered the compartment."
Further results of the scientific studies are anticipated in the new year.
Scientists hope that the materials recovered from the Ryugu asteroid will help unlock secrets to origins of the big bang and the universe itself.
Meanwhile, Hayabusa2 is now on course for a smaller asteroid in the hopes that information recorded by the spacecraft on it’s new 11 year mission will help devise Earth defence mechanisms against future asteroid that risk striking our planet.
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