SCIENCE AND EDUCATION
NASA capsule with 1st asteroid sample lands in US state of Utah
Baku, September 25, AZERTAC
The first asteroid sample collected in space by a NASA capsule landed in the US state of Utah on Sunday, according to Anadolu Agency.
The OSIRIS-REx sample capsule successfully touched down at the Utah Test and Training Range, after returning from a mission to bring samples from asteroid Bennu to Earth.
The capsule completed a journey of 3.86 billion miles (6.2 billion kilometers).
“This marks the US's first sample return mission of its kind and will open a time capsule to the beginnings of our solar system,” NASA said on X.
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft was launched to collect and return samples from asteroid Bennu seven years ago from Florida.
The capsule contains an estimated 8.8 ounces of asteroid rocks and soil, collected from a distance of 63,000 miles (102,000 kilometers) above Earth’s surface, according to CNN.
A scientific team will gather samples from the landing site, including air, dust, and soil particles.
Lori Glaze, director for NASA’s Planetary Sciences Division, told CNN that scientists believe that the asteroid Bennu is representative of the solar system’s own oldest materials forged in large dying stars and supernova explosions.
“And for this reason, NASA is investing in these missions devoted to small bodies to increase our understanding of how our solar system formed and how it evolved,” Glaze added.