A Japanese team has announced that it has found a giant meteorite from a distant asteroid, and that it is the first time the team has located a previously unidentified object.
The new finding was made possible after a NASA asteroid mission failed in 2017 and the team sent a team of experts to collect samples.
The mission was called Kaguya, after a character from the popular anime show “Kaguya Shibuya”.
The team said the asteroid, known as a kakutai (diamond) asteroid, was located in the southern hemisphere of the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
They said the object had been discovered by observing the asteroid’s composition with a radar telescope in the southwestern part of the belt, and using computer simulations to see where it could be in terms of its mass.
The team’s findings are not yet complete, but the team said that the asteroid has a mass of about 300 kilometres (186 miles) and a diameter of about 200 kilometres (124 miles).
“Kaguiya was discovered in the asteroid belts between Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, and it was thought to have been a member of a meteor shower,” said team member Yuji Fukui.
The Kaguyas discovery is a significant achievement in science.
The spacecrafts first mission was launched in 1997.
It is now a member in space of the NEO Interplanetary Boundary Observatory, which is based in the Canary Islands.
It is the only asteroid mission in the world to be launched into orbit, and is a major scientific opportunity for the team.
“This is the beginning of a new chapter in our planetary science history,” Fukui said.