Seven years after the OSIRIS-REx mission launched, a capsule containing rocks captured from the asteroid Bennu in 2020 landed in Utah last month.
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission was launched in September 2016, and seven years later, its capsule landed in the Utah desert for NASA to collect and analyze its first-ever samples collected from an asteroid. Now, NASA scientists are ready to show off what it collected and share what they found out during their first tests.
NASA administrator Bill Nelson presented the first pictures of the samples, saying that tests show “samples that contain abundant water in the form of hydrated clay materials” within the “biggest carbon-rich asteroid sample ever returned to Earth.”
The audacious mission flew the spacecraft to a small, near-Earth asteroid named Bennu and attempted something that hadn’t been done before by orbiting the asteroid, getting close enough to scrape up some material and collect it, and then returning to Earth with the sample.
Follow along here for all of the updates about the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return.