It has been revealed the fact that NASA finally managed to get out the sample of asteroid Bennu from the canister that was holding it. Check out the latest reports about this below.
NASA’s complete sample of asteroid Bennu, revealed
NASA scientists have successfully opened the canister that contains rocks collected from a “potentially hazardous” asteroid named Bennu. The rocks were collected by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft and weigh approximately 8.8 ounces (250 grams).
This is the first time NASA has collected a sample of a space rock. The scientists believe that the rocks might contain some of the earliest precursors to life.
The OSIRIS-REx capsule landed in the Utah desert on September 24 and was transported to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The disassembly process began, but engineers found that two of the capsule’s 35 fasteners were stuck. They had to design and manufacture two bespoke clamp-like tools from surgical steel to remove the clasps.
The capsule was finally opened on January 11.
Mission scientists of the OSIRIS-REx spent almost two years searching for a landing site on the rugged surface of Bennu before they could finally touch down to collect the sample.
To prevent the spacecraft from sinking through the asteroid, the OSIRIS-REx fired a burst of nitrogen from its Touch-and-Go Sample-Acquisition Mechanism while capturing the sample.
The capsule carries ancient rocks that are around 4.5 billion years old from the earliest years of the solar system.
The sample also contains some of the fundamental elements that are believed to have initiated the origin of life on Earth.
Recently, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft found some of these building blocks such as uracil, one of the nucleobases for RNA, on the asteroid Ryugu and returned to Earth with the rock sample in 2020.
The OSIRIS-REx mission scientists are expecting to discover other such biological precursors inside the Bennu sample.