NASA has found high levels of carbon and water in the samples brought to Earth from the Bennu asteroid. NASA also released images of the samples. On September 24, the Osiris Rex probe separated from the Osiris Rex probe and landed safely on Earth.
The aim was to collect 60 grams of sample. But the probe contained more samples than expected. The presence of carbon and water was identified in the preliminary analysis of the samples. This is the first time that so much carbon has been found in samples collected from an asteroid.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said that Bennu samples will help scientists in future studies of the origin of life on Earth.
Detailed studies of the carbon compounds detected are needed. These samples will be used for detailed studies on the formation of the solar system and the origin of life on Earth.
It took 10 days for the scientists to open the probe and safely retrieve the samples. They were quickly subjected to various preliminary analyses. Osiris Rex principal investigator Dante Loretta said the presence of carbon and water is only the tip of the iceberg. Each discovery about Bennu will unravel the mysteries of the universe, she said, and it will take years of study.
About 70 percent of the sample will be stored at the Johnson Space Center for scientists to study. It can be used by current and future scientists in different parts of the world. More than 200 scientists from various US agencies, NASA partners such as the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the Canadian Space Agency and various other countries will study Bennu’s regolith samples, NASA said. The Smithsonian Institution, the Houston Space Center, and the University of Arizona will also provide samples for display.
The Osiris Rex mission was managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. The Osiris Rex spacecraft was built by Lockheed Martin Space. NASA’s Johnson Space Station is responsible for handling the samples.