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The Japanese spacecraft spent seven years in space, including a short stop on the asteroid Itokowa five years ago. It has hopefully brought back samples from the asteroid.
It’s the first spacecraft to land on an asteroid and return to earth. Scientists recovered its space capsule Monday in Australia’s Outback. The samples would initially be studied by a team of scientists in Japan, and then other scientists will have the opportunity to examine the materials.
The re-entry offered a new opportunity for scientists to observe how the spacecraft broke into pieces, and how well the heat shield material protected the capsule with the sample. The data collected can be used for analysis for future earth re-entry voyages