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Possible Asteroid Debris Discovered As NASA Opens Capsule

Possible asteroid debris discovered as NASA opens capsule that recently returned to Earth, containing the largest asteroid sample ever collected from space. On Tuesday, NASA reported that upon the initial removal of the lid from the Osiris-REx science canister, they found "dust and debris" on the avionics deck.

Mariella Blankenship
Sep 28, 20233054 Shares74482 Views
Possible asteroid debris discovered as NASA opens capsulethat recently returned to Earth, containing the largest asteroid sample ever collected from space. On Tuesday, NASA reported that upon the initial removal of the lid from the Osiris-REx science canister, they found "dust and debris" on the avionics deck.
The space agency did not explicitly confirm whether the materials found upon opening the probe's lid definitively originated from the asteroid. However, NASA shared on social media that "scientists gasped as the lid was lifted from the [Osiris-REx] asteroid sample return canister."
"A scientific treasure box," NASA Astromaterials said in a social media post.
Dark powder and sand-sized particles were found on the inside of the lid and base.- NASA
The debris discovered on the avionics deck on Tuesday was probably a consequence of challenges encountered during the collection phase of the space mission. NASA noted that these challenges were eventually resolved, enabling the safe transfer of the sample from the asteroid to the probe's storage canister.
The lid of the probe was unsealed within a hermetically sealed chamber located at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
According to NASA's statement, the aluminum lid was taken off within a specially designed glovebox, created to facilitate handling of the substantial hardware. This process was illustrated through images shared on social media, depicting scientists in full protective gear as they worked with the probe positioned within a reinforced glass and steel enclosure.
NASA scientists are eagerly anticipating the commencement of their analysis of the majority of the sample gathered from the asteroid. This process will necessitate the intricate disassembly of the probe, as stated by the space agency.
The Osiris-REx capsule sitting in the desert after landing on earth
The Osiris-REx capsule sitting in the desert after landing on earth
A press conference has been scheduled for October 11, during which details regarding the bulk of the sample will be unveiled to the public.
The robotic spacecraft OSIRIS-REx was launched in 2016 and collected its specimen from Bennu, a small, carbon-rich asteroid discovered in 1999, three years ago. Bennu is categorized as a "near-Earth object" due to its relatively close proximity to our planet, with a close approach occurring every six years.
This retrieval marked only the third instance of an asteroid sample being brought back to Earth for analysis, and it is by far the largest, following two similar missions conducted by Japan's space agency in 2010 and 2020.
Upon landing on the asteroid, Osiris-Rex gathered approximately 250 grams (9 ounces) of dust from its rocky surface. Scientists believe that the analysis of this material will provide valuable insights into the formation of the solar system and the factors that led to Earth becoming habitable.
NASA has highlighted that the collected sample will also contribute to our improved understanding of the types of asteroids that may pose a threat to Earth. While the likelihood of Bennu colliding with Earth is considered low, it has not been completely ruled out.
Approximately one-quarter of the Bennu sample will be promptly utilized in experiments, with a small portion destined for mission collaborators in Japan and Canada. The remaining portion will be preserved for examination by future generations.

Conclusion

The space probe concluded its extensive 6.21-billion-kilometer (3.86-billion-mile) journey on Sunday, descending through Earth's atmosphere in a dramatic fashion before parachuting down in the Utah desert.
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