Tuesday, June 15, 2010

With Dust You Shall Return

The Japanese sent the spacecraft Hayabusa to an asteroid in 2003.

It was able to land, but communication and other problems left doubt as to whether it had scooped up some of the surface material of the asteroid, as it had been designed to do.

It returned to the earth, so we will soon find out:
Arriving right on schedule, the Hayabusa spacecraft streaked across the skies above a vast desert in central Australia on June 13 at 11:51 p.m. local time. The probe jettisoned a small sample return capsule before breaking up and disintegrating in a shower of sparks in Earth's upper atmosphere.

The capsule continued its descent as a bright pinpoint of light for several more moments before deploying a parachute and landing in a sparsely populated military-testing zone in the South Australia (map) outback known as the Woomera Prohibited Area.

A search helicopter confirmed the capsule's location around 1 a.m. local time on June 14 and a team of scientists returned later that day to retrieve it.
(National Geo). The asteroid belt begins just past Mars and generally extends outward almost to the planet Jupiter.

One theory is that the asteroids are the remains of a planet that exploded, destroying an ancient ecosystem on Mars, and causing craters on planets and moons throughout our solar system.

Some scientists hypothesize that could be the reason vast oceans on Mars disappeared:
"Our findings lend credence to the existing theories regarding extent and formation time of an ancient ocean on Mars," said researcher Gaetano Di Achille, a planetary geologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder. "Moreover our test suggests that early Mars could have likely had a global water cycle similar to the present hydrological configuration of our planet."
(Space). If there is dust in the returning Hayabusa capsule as hoped it may give some more clues to help solve the controversy and mystery.

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