Scientists simply opened the lid to NASA’s asteroid pattern canister

The lid is open on the OSIRIS-REx sample return canister, revealing a tantalizing ring of dust outside the main sample collection chamber.

Enlarge / The lid is open on the OSIRIS-REx pattern return canister, revealing a tantalizing ring of mud outdoors the principle pattern assortment chamber. (credit score: Dante Lauretta)

Dante Lauretta, a planetary scientist on the College of Arizona, has waited practically 20 years to get his arms on pristine specimens from an asteroid, which he says is a key to unlocking solutions to mysteries concerning the origin of life on Earth. On Tuesday, he received his first have a look at mud grains returned by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission.

As a result of they need to make certain, members of the OSIRIS-REx science crew will wipe a few of the mud from the asteroid pattern canister and ship it to a laboratory for evaluation. However there’s little query the mud grains seen instantly after scientists opened the lid to the canister are from asteroid Bennu, the place the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft captured rocks throughout a touch-and-go touchdown in 2020.

The spacecraft accomplished its round-trip journey to asteroid Bennu with a near-bullseye touchdown of its pattern return capsule Sunday morning in Utah. The OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Useful resource Identification, Safety-Regolith Explorer) mothership launched the capsule to plunge into the environment whereas it fired its thrusters to maneuver on a trajectory to go again into the Photo voltaic System for an prolonged mission to go to one other asteroid.

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