I saw this recently on Space – Japan’s asteroid samples faced surprise challenges on Earth: A pandemic, traffic jams and airport security: https://www.space.com/hayabusa2-asteroid-samples-japan-nasa-travel-challenges/ Slightly longer article, but here’s what I considered the first portion of the article. I thought it was a good Space Saturday post.
By Meghan Bartels April 29, 2022
Please do not put your asteroid samples in an airplane’s overhead bins.
Collecting rocks from an asteroid is rocket science; getting them to the lab is another story.
Take Japan’s Hayabusa2 mission, which launched in 2014 to grab pieces of a near-Earth asteroid called Ryugu and delivered those samples to Earth in December 2020. Even when the space rocks reached Japan, the traveling wasn’t quite over. That’s because some of the asteroid material had another flight to catch in order to reach NASA’s Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) center at Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Texas.
This trip didn’t need any rocket fuel, but that doesn’t mean it was easy. “This one is, I would say, a really big deal,” Keiko Nakamura-Messenger, who until last month was a cosmochemist at JSC, told Space.com. “This is the first time that we did international samples like this.”
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