|Published:||Jun 14, 2010 1:58 AM EDT|
|Updated:||Jun 13, 2010 10:59 PM EDT|
ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) - Japan space officials say they know where in Australia they'll find a capsule that they hope is carrying samples from an asteroid.
It was carried back to Earth by a space probe that was launched seven years ago. It traveled four billion miles, landing on an asteroid before beginning the return trip.
Just before midnight Sunday, local time, a fiery burst of light over the Australian Outback signaled that the space probe had returned. It incinerated on re-entry, but first jettisoned the capsule that is expected to contain the first asteroid dust ever collected.
Scientists plan to recover the capsule early tomorrow. It'll be sealed in an airtight vessel and taken to Japan for study.
They hope that the material from the asteroid will help shed light on the origin and evolution of the solar system.