After a decade and $1.2 billion, NASA reveals its booty from Bennu: 121 grams

A view of eight sample trays containing the final material from asteroid Bennu.

Enlarge / A view of eight pattern trays containing the ultimate materials from asteroid Bennu. (credit score: NASA/Erika Blumenfeld & Joseph Aebersold)

After years of hypothesis, NASA lastly revealed on Thursday the totality of the asteroid pattern returned from Bennu to Earth final fall: 4.29 ounces (121.6 grams).

To place that quantity into perspective, the full mass is barely barely greater than one-half cup of sugar or a field of 100 paper clips. It is about the identical mass as a small avocado, and you may’t even smear it on toast.

So, in some sense, it is a fairly small pattern. Particularly when you think about the lengths to which NASA and its companions went to retrieve it. The house company’s Goddard Area Flight Heart labored with the College of Arizona and Lockheed Martin to construct the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft for $800 million. It launched in September 2016 on an Atlas V rocket, which value an extra $183.5 million. And because it has traipsed throughout the internal Photo voltaic System and again, NASA has spent an extra $200 million on mission operations.

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