NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission successfully secured the Sample Return Capsule (SRC) and its sample of asteroid Bennu. To secure it, the spacecraft closed the lid and then fastened two internal latches to ready its journey to Earth. Researchers say that they managed to collect over 2 ounces (60 grams) of Bennu’s surface material. Read more for a video and additional information.
I’ve officially closed the Sample Return Capsule! The sample of Bennu is sealed inside and ready for our voyage back to Earth. The SRC will touch down in the Utah desert on Sep. 24, 2023. Thanks, everyone, for being a part of my journey #ToBennuAndBack pic.twitter.com/z75ITNiGBf
— NASA's OSIRIS-REx (@OSIRISREx) October 29, 2020
All didn’t go as planned, as some of the asteroid particles appeared to be slowly escaping from the head due to a mylar flap that was designed to keep the sample inside the head malfunctioning. It appeared to be wedged open by some larger rocks, but now that the head is secure inside the SRC, pieces of the sample will be able to make their way back.
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This achievement by OSIRIS-REx on behalf of NASA and the world has lifted our vision to the higher things we can achieve together, as teams and nations. Together a team comprising industry, academia and international partners, and a talented and diverse team of NASA employees with all types of expertise, has put us on course to vastly increase our collection on Earth of samples from space. Samples like this are going to transform what we know about our universe and ourselves, which is at the base of all NASA’s endeavors,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.