OSIRIS-REx Sample Return Capsule Lands Safely

Close-up of the surface of Bennu
Image courtesy of NASA

250g (almost 8 ounces) of material collected from the surface of Bennu landed safely in the Utah Derset on Sunday 24th September and has been flown to NASA's Johnson Space Centre in Houston where it will be stored and studied.

Samples will also be distributed from there to scientists worldwide including both the University of Manchester, and the Natural History Museum, London.

Initial studies of the 4.5-billion-year-old samples show both a high carbon content and presence of abundant water bearing clay minerals, which together could indicate the building blocks of life on Earth may be found in the rock.

On October 13th NASA launched a new mission to study a 173 miles (280 kilometers) wide metal-rich asteroid, named Psyche located in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. This will be NASA’s first mission to study an asteroid that has more metal than rock or ice but there will be no sample-return element to the mission. The probe is scheduled to arrive at the asteroid in July 2029.

For more information on the OSIRIS-REx mission, visit the NASA Website

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