Reuters - Video

EDITION: U.S. | U.K. | IN

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 »

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)

Images of August Images of August

Fri, 29 Aug, 2014 - (1:00)

"Old timers" sail the Chesapeake Bay "Old timers" sail the Chesapeake Bay

Mon, 11 Aug, 2014 - (2:27)

Burned memories Burned memories

Fri, 08 Aug, 2014 - (3:02)

Oddly Enough »

Snow leopard arrives at Mexico zoo Snow leopard arrives at Mexico zoo

Tue, 28 Oct, 2014 - (0:59)

Horse rescued from swimming pool Horse rescued from swimming pool

Tue, 28 Oct, 2014 - (0:30)

Surfing in a different sort of costume Surfing in a different sort of costume

Mon, 27 Oct, 2014 - (1:10)

Skateboards get rock star makeovers Skateboards get rock star makeovers

Thu, 23 Oct, 2014 - (1:28)

Giant rubber duck on show in Shanghai Giant rubber duck on show in Shanghai

Thu, 23 Oct, 2014 - (1:06)

Black bear cub goes Sunday shopping Black bear cub goes Sunday shopping

Thu, 23 Oct, 2014 - (0:27)

Christie's opens new Shanghai office Christie's opens new Shanghai office

Wed, 22 Oct, 2014 - (1:13)

Reuters Investigates »

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 - (13:21)

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

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

How education lost its role as the great equalizer - Reuters Investigates How education lost its role as the great...

Mon, 17 Dec, 2012 - (7:52)

Jihad Jane: From abused child to American jihadist - Reuters Investigates Jihad Jane: From abused child to American...

Sun, 09 Dec, 2012 - (10:01)

Jihad Jane: The order to kill - Reuters Investigates Jihad Jane: The order to kill - Reuters...

Mon, 10 Dec, 2012 - (10:39)