Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right or below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.
We won’t know if the Japanese probe Hayabusa actually brought asteroid materials back to Earth until spring 2011. Key quote from the project scientist:
Kawaguchi said his science team found “tens of particles” in Chamber A of the canister. The tiny particles are being removed one-by-one in an extraction process that is stretching longer than anticipated.
Note that they still have not opened Chamber B, which is thought to have had a better chance of capturing asteroid material because it was the chamber in contact with the asteroid Itokawa.