The capsule with samples from the asteroid Bennu arrives on Earth seven years after its launch
NASA scientists collect the sample.
Published 09/25/2023 – 11:56
The largest asteroid sample ever collected by the US space agency landed this Sunday in Utah, United States.
The “Osiris-rex” mission
The “Osiris-rex” mission, launched by NASA about seven years ago, collected rocks and dust from the asteroid Bennu, several billion kilometers from Earth.
The sample weighing around 250 grams will now be catalogued. 25% of it will be distributed to various scientists around the world for analysis. The hope is to discover several secrets about the origin of life on Earth.
“The main goal for me, and one of the main goals of this program, is to try to understand that carbon-rich asteroids like Bennu provide the compounds that may have led to the origin of life on our planet. Earth is a habitable world. That’s why we don’t want biological organisms to interact with it. Therefore, we plan to avoid any contact [de la muestra] with bacteria or anything else that could jeopardize our scientific research,” explains Dante Lauretta, principal investigator of the Osiris Rex mission.
On social networks, NASA stated that collecting this sample from the asteroid “Bennu” could allow us to “go back 4.5 billion years” in the history of the solar system.
The “Osiris-Rex” mission
The “Osiris-Rex” mission was launched in September 2016, arrived at “Bennu” two years later and took another two years to find the place to collect the sample.
The return journey began in May 2021 and the sample is finally back on Earth. With this, there are six extraterrestrial samples that have reached Earth.