Space capsule with Bennu Asteroid sample lands in Utah
NASA announced the arrival of the OSIRIS-REx space capsule on Sunday, in the first time a spacecraft delivers matter from an asteroid to Earth.
According to NASA, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, which was carrying a sample of the Bennu asteroid, landed in the US state of Utah on Sunday.
Bennu, formerly known as 1999 RQ36, was founded in 1999. Bennu is categorized as a near-Earth asteroid that approaches the planet every 6 years. Bennu was listed in the Guinness World Records book as the smallest space body orbited by a man-made spacecraft, according to NASA. Scientists believe Bennu broke apart from a bigger carbon-rich asteroid some 2 billion years ago.
The US space agency announced that "NASA's OSIRIS-REx sample capsule, carrying a sample of asteroid Bennu, touched down on the Department of Defense's Utah Test and Training Range at 10:52 a.m. EDT [14:52 GMT]."
It detailed how this was the first time a US spacecraft transported asteroid rocks and debris to Earth. The capsule contains between 60 and 2,000 grams (2.1-70.5 oz) of sample matter collected from the asteroid in 2020.
The capsule will be delivered to experts who will examine the samples. It will be shipped to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, on Monday, where it will be shown on October 11.
The OSIRIS-REx mission began in September 2016 in an attempt to reach Bennu and collect samples from its surface. The spaceship will continue its voyage through space to approach Apophis, a 1,200-foot-diameter asteroid that will pass within 20,000 miles of Earth in 2029. NASA has renamed the mission OSIRIS-APEX to reflect the new aims of the extended mission.
The mission's goal is to "study changes in the asteroid caused by its close flyby of Earth by using the spacecraft's gas thrusters to attempt to dislodge and study the dust and small rocks on and below Apophis' surface."