News & AnalysisPlanetary Science

Hayabusa Gets to the Bottom of Deceptive Asteroid Cloaking

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Science  26 Aug 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6046, pp. 1081
DOI: 10.1126/science.333.6046.1081

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Japanese researchers dissecting the first bits of asteroid returned to Earth by a spacecraft have nailed the source of Earth's most common meteorites. The blast of the solar wind and perhaps other "space weathering" processes, it turns out, altered the spectral color of the most common type of asteroids in the inner asteroid belt—the "S types"—and masked their true nature. They report those and additional analyses in detail in this week's issue of Science (pp. 1113-1130).