Japan space agency confirms asteroid soil inside capsule

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s space agency says it has confirmed the presence of black soil samples inside a capsule that the spacecraft Hayabusa2 brought back from a distant asteroid last week. The pan-shaped capsule, 40 centimeters (15 inches) in diameter, was dropped by Hayabusa2 from space onto a spot in a sparsely populated Australian desert on Dec. 6. It arrived in Japan last week for research that will hopefully provide insights into the origins of the solar system and life on Earth. Scientists say they are particularly interested in organic materials in the samples to learn about how they were distributed in the solar system.