On September 8, 2016, the OSIRIS-Rex probe left Earth aboard an Atlas V rocket. Seven years later, the last phase of its mission has just begun. During its journey through space, the probe came to observe the asteroid Bennu.
NASA even managed, for the first time, to capture some fragments. A small capsule containing grams of Bennu dust then returned to Earth. It is with the greatest caution that scientists from the Johnson Space Center in Houston have just opened it.
It has been months since the NASA engineers are working to open this capsule. Indeed, when the probe was within range of Bennu, it worked a little too well. The dust collection was so great that it was difficult to close said capsule. Today, the problem is the opposite, it is very complicated to open this packed capsule.
800 million dollars for… 70 grams ?
“There are nearly 70 grams of materials waiting to be analyzed” congratulates NASA on its blog. Faced with such a pathetic figure, the general public could question the value of an 800 million dollar mission.
L& However, the entire sample reported from Bennu has inestimable scientific value. As soon as it is “in the hands” scientists and specialists will be responsible for photographing them in ultra high resolution. These photos could then help scientists around the world understand how asteroids are built from the inside.
To understand Bennu is to understand Earth
The objective of the mission for NASA is to understand the mechanisms involved in the formation of the asteroid Bennu. The latter having been born 4.5 billion years ago, it is a vestige of the early days of the solar system.
By studying its composition, NASA scientists hope to be able to better understand the phenomena involved in the formation of our solar system. It is therefore with great hope that NASA opens this capsule, filled with mysteries.
What are the expectations??
During the return of the Osiris-Rex probe to Earth, NASA rushed to collect information on some fragments recovered outside the capsule . Thanks to these, the American space agency already knows that the asteroid has, in distant times, hosted water and carbon-based organic molecules.
In order to find out more about Bennu, NASA also plans to involve other laboratories around the world. The American space agency does not intend to keep all this treasure on its side. Each of the laboratories which will be in charge of studying a piece of an asteroid will unlock all its resources to concentrate on a specific research point.
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