Reuters - Video

Edition: U.S. | U.K. | IN | CN

In Depth

Japan to seek seeds of life in asteroid mission

Thursday, November 22, 2012 - 01:57

Nov. 22 - Japan's space agency, JAXA, is preparing for a mission to an asteroid where it hopes to find clues to the origins of life on Earth. In 2010 a similar mission successfuly brought asteroid samples back to Earth for examination but this next attempt, set for 2014, is aiming even higher. Rob Muir has more.

▲ Hide Transcript

View Transcript

Hitoshi Kuninaka is pondering Japan's next ambitious mission into space. He leads a team planning to send a spacecraft called Hyabusa 2, on a journey through space to a distant asteroid call 1999 JU3. The asteroid is widely believed to contain organic matter that may have contributed to life on Earth. Kuninaka and his team want to collect samples and bring them back to see what they're made of. SOUNDBITE: HITOSHI KUNINAKA - JAXA LUNAR AND PLANETARY EXPLORATION PROGRAM GROUP PROGRAM DIRECTOR, SAYING: "We hope to get older information than is possible from stone-type asteroids from this type of carbon asteroid by taking samples. We hope to find the key to the creation of the solar system and the birth of life." Hyabusa 2 is a more ambitious mission than its predecessor Hyabusa 1. That mission, which ended in 2010 returned with samples from another asteroid, Itokawa. But problems with the equipment onboard hampered the collection effort and only microscopic dust particles could be retrieved. This time, the space agency is taking a different approach. The craft will conduct research over a period of eighteen months but prior to leaving, it will deploy a device designed to explode above the surface to create a crater into which the craft will land. SOUNDBITE: HITOSHI KUNINAKA - JAXA LUNAR AND PLANETARY EXPLORATION PROGRAM GROUP PROGRAM DIRECTOR, SAYING: " At that point it's then possible to take a sample of the fresher material inside the crater or the material knocked out from the crater." And then, Hyabusa will begin its long journey home. The mission will cost more than 400 million dollars but, if all goes according to plan, Kuninaka says Hyabusa 2 will return to Earth, loaded with samples he hopes will reveal the origins of life.

Press CTRL+C (Windows), CMD+C (Mac), or long-press the URL below on your mobile device to copy the code

Japan to seek seeds of life in asteroid mission

Thursday, November 22, 2012 - 01:57

Editors' Picks »

Business »

Moving Pictures »

Images of December Images of December

Tue, 23 Dec, 2014 - (0:30)

Tsunami - unclaimed possessions Tsunami - unclaimed possessions

Tue, 23 Dec, 2014 - (2:23)

Images of October Images of October

Mon, 03 Nov, 2014 - (0:57)

The world in a city The world in a city

Fri, 31 Oct, 2014 - (1:30)

Real-life superheroes Real-life superheroes

Tue, 28 Oct, 2014 - (1:44)

Dance of the northern lights Dance of the northern lights

Mon, 20 Oct, 2014 - (1:08)

Images of September Images of September

Thu, 02 Oct, 2014 - (1:00)

Still missing – MH370 Still missing – MH370

Fri, 05 Sep, 2014 - (2:05)

Burning Together Burning Together

Mon, 01 Sep, 2014 - (2:23)

Mending dolls, teddies and hearts Mending dolls, teddies and hearts

Fri, 22 Aug, 2014 - (3:12)

Sports And Leisure »

Mourinho's "Let's go to Wembley" Mourinho's "Let's go to Wembley"

Wed, 28 Jan, 2015 - (1:16)

Diver Daley trains in Rio Diver Daley trains in Rio

Tue, 27 Jan, 2015 - (0:55)

Drogba on his Chelsea hopes Drogba on his Chelsea hopes

Mon, 26 Jan, 2015 - (0:52)

NBA legend shoots from the hip NBA legend shoots from the hip

Wed, 14 Jan, 2015 - (1:13)

Tennis ace Murray proposes to girlfriend Tennis ace Murray proposes to girlfriend

Thu, 27 Nov, 2014 - (0:41)

Sports Spread: Tinkering Liverpool target Chelsea Sports Spread: Tinkering Liverpool target...

Thu, 06 Nov, 2014 - (11:18)

Sports Spreads: Can van Gaal beat Mourinho? Sports Spreads: Can van Gaal beat Mourinho?

Thu, 23 Oct, 2014 - (12:39)

Dateline Asia »

Samsung sees profits slide Samsung sees profits slide

Thu, 29 Jan, 2015 - (0:57)

Chinese firms on overseas shopping sprees Chinese firms on overseas shopping sprees

Thu, 29 Jan, 2015 - (2:28)

iPhone grabs top spot in China iPhone grabs top spot in China

Wed, 28 Jan, 2015 - (1:40)

Robot replacements for Foxconn's workers Robot replacements for Foxconn's workers

Wed, 28 Jan, 2015 - (1:12)

Alibaba could set sights on Yahoo Alibaba could set sights on Yahoo

Tue, 27 Jan, 2015 - (1:24)

Fashion designers finding haste makes waste Fashion designers finding haste makes waste

Tue, 27 Jan, 2015 - (2:07)

Be afraid, the Chinese are spending less Be afraid, the Chinese are spending less

Mon, 26 Jan, 2015 - (1:33)

Asia markets shrug at Greek elections Asia markets shrug at Greek elections

Mon, 26 Jan, 2015 - (1:36)

Asia markets toast ECB stimulus Asia markets toast ECB stimulus

Fri, 23 Jan, 2015 - (1:42)

Asia Week Ahead: Markets await Greece vote Asia Week Ahead: Markets await Greece vote

Fri, 23 Jan, 2015 - (1:18)

Reuters Investigates »

Where the sea is closing in Where the sea is closing in

Thu, 20 Nov, 2014 - (3:41)

Re-homing victim: "I could have been dead" Re-homing victim: "I could have been dead"

Wed, 19 Feb, 2014 - (8:24)

Cops and loggers in the Amazon rainforest Cops and loggers in the Amazon rainforest

Fri, 10 Jan, 2014 - (4:01)

"Passed around like a dog" "Passed around like a dog"

Thu, 29 Aug, 2013 - (6:32)

Adopted, then abandoned online Adopted, then abandoned online

Thu, 29 Aug, 2013 - (13:22)

How the DEA keeps its secrets secret How the DEA keeps its secrets secret

Mon, 05 Aug, 2013 - (1:36)