Japanese spacecraft's gifts: Asteroid chips like charcoal | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Japanese spacecraft's gifts: Asteroid chips like charcoal

They resemble small fragments of charcoal, but the soil samples collected from an asteroid and returned to Earth by a Japanese spacecraft were hardly disappointing.

The samples Japanese space officials described Thursday are as big as 1 centimeter (0.4 inch) and rock hard, not breaking when picked up or poured into another container. Smaller black, sandy granules the spacecraft collected and returned separately were described last week.

The Hayabusa2 spacecraft got the two sets of samples last year from two locations on the asteroid Ryugu, more than 300 million kilometers (190 million miles) from Earth. It dropped them from space onto a target in the Australian Outback, and the samples were brought to Japan in early December.

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