Turkish scientist to analyze asteroid pieces from space
KIRKLARELİ – Anadolu Agency
Turkey will inspect pieces from an asteroid that has been brought from space by the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) for the first time after meticulous efforts of a Turkish scientist, Anadolu Agency reported on Oct. 10.
“Due to my experience in experimenting with small particles, JAXA accepted my application and sent four pieces of the Itokawa asteroid to Turkey,” said Mehmet Yeşiltaş from Kırklareli University.
According to the Turkish scientist, JAXA sent the Hayabusa spacecraft to find near-Earth objects (NEO) in 2003. After two years of journey, Hayabusa arrived at Itokawa and took samples from the asteroid. The asteroid pieces were brought back to Earth in 2010.
“JAXA accepted my wish to analyze the pieces. I, with my crew, will try to analyze the effects that the space erosion caused on the asteroid with our techniques,” said Yeşiltaş, without giving further details.
“Until now, particles like these have never been analyzed in Turkey. It will be a first. We will experience the pieces of an asteroid and the effects of space erosion. I will inform my Turkish colleagues as soon as we have a conclusion,” he added.
Praising the establishment of the Turkish Space Agency, Yeşiltaş highlighted that “Our missions will surely contribute to future missions of the national space agency.”
Itokawa asteroid, also known as 25134 Itkoawa, is a sub-kilometer near-Earth object of the Apollo group in the Solar System and a potentially hazardous asteroid. It was discovered by the LINEAR program in 1998 and was later named after a Japanese rocket engineer, Hideo Itokawa.
Itokawa orbits the Sun once every 18 months.