POT. What did they find inside the Osiris-Rex probe? 'Black powder'
NASA on Tuesday opened the Osiris-Rex mission probe that collected fragments of an asteroid and announced that it found "black powder and debris" inside, although the bulk of the sample has not yet been examined.
Seven years after its takeoff, the probe landed on Sunday in the American desert in Utah, after a high-risk maneuver.
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The sample, taken in 2020 from the asteroid Bennu, contains around 250 grams of material, according to estimates by the US space agency.
“A scientific treasure box.”
Scientists gasped as the lid was lifted from the #OSIRISREx asteroid sample return canister, showing dark powder and sand-sized particles on the inside of the lid and base.
—NASA Astromaterials (@Astromaterials) September 26, 2023
During that operation, NASA realized that the lid of the collection container could not be closed. But finally The sample was secured and transferred to the probe as planned.
However, due to this failure, scientists expected to find traces of the sample outside the collection compartment, in the box where it was placed.
On Tuesday, a first lid was opened on an airtight chamber at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
NASA teams immediately "found black dust and debris," the space agency announced, without specifying whether they were asteroid fragments.
This material will be analyzed and a "careful disassembly process" of the collection compartment will be carried out, "in order to access the main sample found inside," the space agency wrote.
A planned press conference for October 11 to "publicize the exhibition."
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Analysis of the composition of the asteroid Bennu will allow scientists to better understand how the Solar System formed and how Earth became habitable.
Scientists believe that this space body (500 meters in diameter) is rich in carbon and contains water molecules encased in minerals.
There is a small risk (1 in 2,700 chance) that Bennu will hit Earth in 2182, which would be catastrophic. In 2022, NASA managed to divert the trajectory of an asteroid by impacting it.
With information from AFP.
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