In a thrilling revelation, NASA’s astromaterials team found dark dust and minuscule sand particles upon unveiling the ‘treasure chest’ returned from asteroid Bennu by the OSIRIS-REx mission.
Upon carefully opening the sample return capsule, scientists were taken aback by the sight of the dark particles evident on both the lid and base. The specifics of these intriguing particles’ origin or characteristics remain undisclosed. However, it is believed that the material on the lid and base are also from the surface of the asteroid.
Bennu’s Bounty Lands in Houston
Following its descent in the Utah desert on September 24, the OSIRIS-REx sample return capsule quickly found its way to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston just a day later. Notably, Johnson boasts the most extensive collection of astromaterials globally.
Anticipation grows as conservation specialists prepare to meticulously dismantle the Touch and Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) to unveil the treasured sample it houses. These intricate procedures occur within a state-of-the-art lab tailored explicitly for the OSIRIS-REx mission. Ensuring the utmost care, the aluminum lid was detached within a specially designed glove box, ensuring the capsule’s integrity remained uncompromised.
As TAGSAM’s separation progresses, it will be placed in a sealed container that retains a nitrogen atmosphere for roughly two hours. This procedure guarantees the team ample time to transition the TAGSAM into another specialized glove box, expediting the disassembly. Eager space enthusiasts and the general public can expect a grand display of the findings on October 11.
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