A capsule containing extraterrestrial material landed in the desert of Utah, United States, on Sunday, September 24. Inside was a valuable sample of dust and rock collected by the ship. OSIRIS-REx of NASA on the asteroid Bennu, which due to its age (more than 4.5 billion years) is known to contain information about the origin of the solar system, the Earth and life on our planet.
OSIRIS-REx was launched in 2016 and reached determine in 2020, where he took this pure material and stored it in a capsule. Then, he started his journey back. This Sunday, the spacecraft approached 102,000 kilometers from the Earth’s surface and released the capsule, which passed through the atmosphere four hours later.
Once recovered and packaged, the sample will be taken by helicopter to a military field, where it will be prepared for its journey to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, “where it will be documented, treated and distributed to the scientists around the world for their analysis,” the space agency explained.
OSIRIS-REx: collect the capsule
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx sample capsule successfully landed in the Utah desert at 10:52 am.
After collecting the capsule, NASA recovery teams collected samples of the soil and gas around it, which would later help prove that asteroid Bennu was free of contamination.
The newly arrived object is being moved to a temporary room in Utah, before arriving at the Johnson Space Center, where curation and analysis will take place.
About 75% of the samples will be saved for posterity, so they can be analyzed with more advanced technologies, which have not yet been invented, according to NASA.
After detaching itself from its capsule, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft began a new journey towards another goal: the asteroid Apophis, with a new mission called OSIRIS-APEX. It is estimated that its arrival will take place in 2029, at the closest approach of this space object to the Earth.