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Asteroid sample nails meteorite source

Dust shows where most space rocks come from

By
1:57pm, August 25, 2011

Scientists have scraped the heavens and seen the solar system in a speck of dust.

Well, more than 1,500 specks, most less than 50 millionths of a meter in diameter. Plucked from the surface of the asteroid Itokawa by Japan’s Hayabusa spacecraft, the tiny grains carry a record of the solar system’s early days. Now, scientists have decoded the particles and read in them a tale of the asteroid’s history, a story that spans billions of years, from the asteroid’s birth to its future demise.

Teams of scientists in Japan and elsewhere report their findings in six papers published in the Aug. 26 Science.

“I think they have done a stupendous job of characterizing and cla

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