Spacecraft released the sample capsule 1 lakh km above the Earth. The capsule landed on Earth at 8.23 pm.
After 7 years, today on September 24, 2023, the spacecraft of the American space agency NASA returned the sample collected from asteroid Bennu to Earth. The sample can provide information about how the sun and planets were formed 4.5 billion years ago.
The name of this mission is OSIRIS-REx, which was launched on 8 September 2016. The most special thing about the mission was that the spacecraft delivered the samples without landing on Earth. The spacecraft released the sample capsule at 4.12 pm, about one lakh km above the Earth. The capsule landed via parachute in the Utah desert at 8:23 pm.
At the same time, the spacecraft fired its engines 20 minutes after releasing the sample capsule above the Earth and set out on a new journey to the ‘Apophis Asteroid’. This spacecraft will reach Apophis asteroid in the year 2029. The name of the OSIRIS-REx mission has also now become OSIRIS-APEX.
The sample will reach Houston in a sealed container on Monday.
The NASA team wrapped the 45 kg capsule in several sheets of Teflon. Then it was taken to the temporary clean room through a 100-foot cable hanging from the helicopter. On Monday, the samples will be airlifted to Houston in a sealed container.
According to NASA, the capsule contains 250 grams of sample. At least 75% of the sample will be preserved at NASA’s Johnson Space Flight Center in Houston for future research. The remaining samples will be analyzed by 2025.
What will be achieved by this mission?
Samples of the Bennu asteroid will help scientists learn how the early solar system formed and how life began. It could also help us better understand asteroids that could potentially impact Earth in the future.