The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said Wednesday it has found several dozen additional particles in a container inside a tiny capsule that the Hayabusa unmanned space probe released in June after a seven-year round-trip to the asteroid Itokawa.
The announcement came after JAXA reported Monday that two particles measuring about 0.01 mm in diameter were found in the container for Itokawa surface samples.
The agency said the newly discovered particles are several thousandths of a millimeter in diameter and it will analyze them to see if they are from the asteroid, which is about 300 million km from Earth.
The particles may also have entered the container before Hayabusa was launched.
The analysis will start in or after September, JAXA said.