Dr. Scott Sandford of NASA-ARC made a trip to Japan in December 2011 to join Japanese colleagues at the SPring-8 cyclotron facility in order to study some of the particles returned from asteroid Itokawa by the Hayabusa spacecraft. After the cyclotron run, he traveled to JAXA headquarters to participate in the final Joint Science Team meeting for the Hayabusa mission. The meeting culminated with the transfer of 15 Hayabusa particles to NASA (see image). The particles now reside at Astromaterials Curatorial Facility at NASA-JSC and will soon be made available for study by the world’s science community.
Figure caption: Trevor Ireleand (Asutralian Hayabusa Sample Scientist),
Scott Sandford (US Hayabusa Sample Scientist), and Michael Zolensky
(US Hayabusa Sample Scientist and NASA Hayabusa Sampel Curator) with
the transferred samples of asteroid Itokawa.