NASA's OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, and Regolith Explorer) spacecraft collected samples from the Bennu asteroid three years ago. Osiris-Rex has since been making a long journey to her home world to share her findings with the team.
But finally, the long journey came to an end on September 24, 2023, when a capsule loaded with rocks and dust from Bennu successfully landed on Earth in an area at the Department of Defense's Utah Test and Training Range near Salt Lake City. NASA team has closely followed the spacecraft since it was launched in 2016. The mission's results are expected to provide insight into "the origins of organic matter and water that gave birth to life on Earth," as well as other important information about asteroids that could threaten Earth. The 8.8-ounce sample was taken to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, where scientists began disassembling the canister and cataloguing its contents. Parts of Bennu will be shared with researchers around the world, allowing them to learn more about the asteroid.
“Congratulations to the OSIRIS-REx team on their amazing mission - the first-ever American asteroid sample, which will deepen our understanding of the origins of our solar system and how it formed. It goes without saying that Bennu is a potentially dangerous asteroid. And what we learn from the samples will help us better understand the types of asteroids that may come our way," NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement. “With OSIRIS-REx, the launch of Psyche in a few weeks, and the one-year anniversary of DART and Lucy's first asteroid approaches in November, asteroid fall is in full swing. These missions prove once again that NASA accomplishes great things. Things that inspire and connect us. When we work together, nothing to show for is beyond our reach. ”