When NASA opened Asteroid Bennu capsule brought back to Earth by Osiris-Rex, THIS is what it found
Osiris-Rex mission had embarked on its extraordinary journey of over billions of miles to Asteroid Bennu, collecting a remarkable 250 grams sample, it also snagged some debris along the way.
After seven years in space, NASA's Osiris-Rex probe has captured the world's attention with its successful return to Earth, carrying a precious chunk of asteroid sample. This achievement promises groundbreaking insights into the origins of our solar system and potential threats from asteroids. Notably, Osiris-Rex traveled billions of miles before jettisoning the precious cargo capsule back towards Earth. The Osiris-Rex spacecraft was some 63000 miles above Earth when it released the capsule carrying the asteroid sample, which fell back to Earth. The craft itself shot by the Earth.
What was on the capsule?
FRANCE 24's Science reporter Shirli Sitbon, who is currently taking a close look at the mission, said that, As the lid of the capsule containing the asteroid material was opened, surprisingly, scientists discovered what appears to be a mysterious black dust. While the sample of the asteroid was safe inside the capsule, the spacecraft had picked up soot too, either from the asteroid itself or along the way in its journey. This dark powder and sand-sized particles were unexpected.
The Osiris-Rex mission embarked on its extraordinary journey to the Asteroid Bennu, collecting a remarkable 250-grams sample. The capsule's safe return marks a historic moment in space exploration. The collected material is believed to be composed of the original building blocks of planets, making it invaluable for understanding the formation of the solar system itself.
According to NASA, “This mission will help scientists investigate how planets formed and how life began, as well as improve our understanding of asteroids that could impact Earth”.
By studying the chemical composition and properties of this material, scientists hope to uncover critical information about the early history of our solar system and Earth's formation. Moreover, this mission can reveal valuable data about asteroids and their potential threats to Earth. Understanding the composition of Bennu and similar celestial bodies can help in developing strategies to minimize the risk of asteroid impacts on our planet. While the chance of a catastrophic asteroid collision is relatively low, the consequences could be devastating and therefore, this research is a vital component of planetary defense.
In addition to the Osiris-Rex mission, recent space news has highlighted the return of an American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts from the International Space Station (ISS). Their journey back to Earth was six months overdue due to a coolant leak. The spacecraft was not fit to bring them back home, so they waited for another Soyuz spacecraft to be sent to retrieve them. This marks a new record for the longest space mission by a U.S. astronaut.
Space exploration continues to yield invaluable knowledge that benefits humanity and advances our understanding of the universe.
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