- Paul Rincon
- BBC News Science Editor
An Australian team found and recovered a space capsule carrying samples of an asteroid.
It is estimated that they are the first significant quantities of an aerolite that can shed new light on the history of the Solar System.
A capsule containing a space rock material called Ryugu fell from a parachute near Woomer, a desert area in southern Australia.
The sample included Japanese spacecraft called Hayabusa-2, which spent more than a year researching the asteroid.
The capsule – or container – was separated from the Hayabusa-2 before it entered the Earth’s atmosphere.
Hayabusa-2’s official Twitter account reported that the container and parachute were found at 7:47 p.m. this Saturday (GMT).
Earlier, cameras captured images of the capsule as they descended on the Australian town of Coober Pedy “like a dazzling ball of fire”.
The container opened the parachute to slow the fall.
Upon entering the Earth’s atmosphere, the capsule began to transmit information about it position.
The spacecraft eventually landed at Woomera, an area under the control of the Australian Royal Air Force.
When the recovery team identified where the capsule had landed, around 18:07 GMT, a helicopter, equipped with an antenna, deployed to find the container.
It is now under the “quick review” protocol before being moved to Japan.
Then the capsule, which weighs 16 kilograms, Will be taken to the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) conservation chamber in the city of Sagamihara for analysis and storage.
The Japanese mission wanted to collect more than 100 milligrams of the asteroid Ryugu.
Professor Alan Fitzsimmons, of Queen’s University at Belfast in Northern Ireland, explained that the sample is capable of revealing a lot of data “not only about the history of the Solar System, but also about these particular objects”.
Asteroids are basically building objects left over from creation Solar system.
Planets like Earth are made of the same material they were made of.
“Having samples of an asteroid like Ryugu will be very exciting for our area. We believe that the Ryugu Solar System is made up of super old rocks that will explain how it was created,” said Professor Sara Russell, a researcher in the Planetary Materials group. Natural History London, BBC.
Analyzing the samples taken by Ryugun we could tell how the water and the components of life reached the beginning of the Earth.
Kites were long believed to be carriers a large part of the water In the early days of the Earth’s Solar System.
Instead, Professor Fitzsimmons noted that the chemical profile of comet water was different from the water profile of our planet’s oceans.
However, the water composition of some asteroids in the outer Solar System is more similar.
“Maybe we should study comets to find the origin of Earth’s water at the beginning of the Solar System. Maybe we should be a little closer to home, in these primitive but quite rocky asteroids,” the expert told the BBC.
“Actually, Ryugu is something that will be carefully examined in these samples,” he concluded.
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