Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso

Itokawa Asteroid

  • Anny-Chantal Levasseur-RegourdEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_4029-3


Bioorganic Chemistry High Porosity Sample Return Rough Terrain Fine Dust 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Itokawa is an S-type near-Earth asteroid, numbered 25143. This irregular object has been the first asteroidal target for a sample return mission: the JAXA Hayabusa-1 mission. It has established that Itokawa is very small (530 × 290 × 210 m) and has a density of about 1,900 kg/m−3, leading to a rather high porosity. It presents rough terrains scattered with boulders and smooth featureless areas, resulting from fine dust accumulated in local gravitational lows. Its shape suggests that it is a contact binary (as the nucleus of comet Hartley 2). Its density could indicate that it is built from loose-packed rocks, held together by their gravity. Samples of the asteroid have been brought back to Earth and are under analysis.

See Also

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UPMC University of Paris 6/LATMOS-IPSLParisFrance