NASA’s sample of asteroid rubble double the amount expected | Space

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The first asteroid samples acquired by NASA from deep space contain double the amount of material scientists were expecting to get, according to a press release.

“The OSIRIS-REx sample is the biggest carbon-rich asteroid sample ever delivered to Earth and will help scientists investigate the origins of life on our own planet for generations to come,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in a statement. “Almost everything we do at NASA seeks to answer questions about who we are and where we come from.”

The delivery was made last fall, but according to NASA, it took longer than expected to get all of the samples. The disassembly of the Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism, TAGSAM, the system used to collect the samples, was paused because of two stuck fasteners.

After developing new tools, scientists with the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science, ARES, division were able to open the capsule and collect the rest of the sample.

NASA said it will store 70% of the sample at Houston’s Johnson Space Center for further research by scientists from around the world.

“Later this spring, the curation team will release a catalog of the OSIRIS-REx samples, which will make the asteroid sample available for request by the global scientific community,” said NASA in the press release.

What happened, according to NASA

  • In September 2023, NASA received an extraterrestrial delivery from its OSIRIS-REx spacecraft as it flew past Earth. It sent a capsule with the asteroid samples that were collected in 2020,
  • The craft released the capsule from 63,000 miles away, and it landed four hours later on a remote expanse of military land, AP News reported Inside the capsule was half a cup of 4.5 billion-year-old samples from the asteroid Bennu.
  • Osiris was already on its way to collect samples from another asteroid, AP reported, when the Bennu sample was strapped to a helicopter and taken to a temporary clean room at the Defense Department’s Utah Test and Training Range before being…

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