Hayabusa was a Japanese sample return mission that brought fragments of the asteroid Itokawa back to Earth. Itokawa is a common type of stony asteroid, which is the same composition as the LL (low Fe) ordinary chondrite meteorite group.
In Manchester we are studying grains of the asteroid to understand its evolution and exposure to space. We have developed clean room facilities for careful handling and imaging of the small particle fragments.
More information about the Hayabusa mission can be found on the Japanese Space Agency’s website.