As reported Digital lookThe capsule containing a sample of the asteroid Bennu was successfully delivered to Earth by the OSIRIS-REx mission on Sunday (24).
This is the first time that NASA has been able to bring fragments of a space rock to our planet.
On Saturday (23), after seven years of the mission, which covered a total of 6.2 billion kilometers (round trip, survey and return), the spacecraft launched the “beam” into Earth’s orbit at an altitude of 101 kilometers, and continued its journey towards Earth. Asteroid Apophis, which is supposed to approach by 2029.
With the help of parachutes, the capsule landed at 11:52 am (Brasilia time), in the western United States, in the desert area surrounding the military testing and training field in Utah. It reached speeds of 43,450 kilometers per hour, and its heat shield was exposed to temperatures of up to 2,900 degrees Celsius as it passed through the Earth’s atmosphere – taking about 13 minutes to reach Earth.
A little more than half an hour later, two NASA employees approached to check whether the process had damaged the casing. He was then connected to a helicopter via a long rope and flown to a temporary clean room set up at the US Army’s Dugway Proving Ground.
The agency published on the X website (formerly Twitter) the moment the capsule arrived at the site, where it was received by a technical team, following all required safety protocols.
Asteroids like Bennu formed about 4.5 billion years ago, at the same time as the solar system’s planets. said Marcelo Zurita, president of the Paraibana Astronomical Association (APA), member of the Brazilian Astronomical Society (SAB), technical director of the Brazilian Meteor Observer Network (BRAMON) and columnist for Olhar Digital. “This means that studying material from asteroids like this could help reveal the state and composition of matter around the ‘young’ Sun, and even help explain the origins of life here on Earth.”
According to NASAFor two years from the end of 2023 to 2025, the sample will be cataloged and analysed. At least 75% of the content will be retained at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston for future research.
JSC staff will oversee the distribution of the rest to more than 200 researchers around the world, who will investigate it for a variety of purposes.
For example, one line of study will focus on organic compounds, such as carbon. Scientists believe that asteroids rich in this element, such as Bennu, may have helped life establish itself on Earth by delivering organic materials through collisions.
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