Thousands of people flocked to an exhibition in Japan on Sunday to see a capsule from the Hayabusa space probe which was hoped to have brought asteroid dust to Earth.
Some 1,800 people were queuing in Tokyo to see the heat-proof pod, which had traveled in space with the unmanned craft for seven years, even before the exhibition opened in the morning, a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) spokesman said.
More than 7,000 had visited the first public showing of the capsule by early evening, he said, adding that the space agency expects as many as 50,000 people during the five-day exhibition.
The capsule, which journeyed billions of kilometres (miles), was fired back to Earth in June.
Technical problems had plagued the Hayabusa, which at one stage spun out of control and lost contact with JAXA for seven weeks, delaying the mission for three years until the asteroid and Earth re-aligned.
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