News FocusLunar and Planetary Science Conference

Prime Science Achieved at Asteroid

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Science  15 Apr 2011:
Vol. 332, Issue 6027, pp. 302
DOI: 10.1126/science.332.6027.302-b

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A crippled Hayabusa spacecraft barely made it back to Earth last June, and it returned only a wisp of a sample from Itokawa, the asteroid it visited in 2005. But at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, Japanese researchers announced that the little spacecraft that could has scored a solid scientific success. Detailed analyses of the sample—the first ever returned from an asteroid—have confirmed the oft-contentious claim that the most common type of meteorite falls to Earth from a class of asteroids long cloaked by a mysterious discoloration.