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The Japanese space agency JAXA sent the Hayabusa probe to Itokawa, which collected soil samples and brought them safely back to Earth—for the first time in the history of space travel. This valuable cargo arrived in 2010 and since then, the samples have been the subject of intensive research. A team from Japan and Jena has now succeeded in coaxing a previously undiscovered secret from some of these tiny sample particles: the surface of the dust grains is covered with tiny wafer-thin crystals of iron. This observation surprised Prof. Falko Langenhorst and Dr. Dennis Harries of Friedrich Schiller University in…

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