According to the US space agency NASA, a sample of the rubble of the asteroid Bennu, which fell to Earth about three weeks ago, contains traces of water and carbon. Initial examinations of the sample have shown this, but it still needs to be deepened through several additional analyses, NASA announced in a press conference on Wednesday.
It is the first asteroid sample successfully brought to Earth in NASA’s history – and the largest sample ever taken. The sample was dropped into a capsule from NASA’s Osiris-Rex probe over the Utah desert in September. From there, the capsule was then transported to NASA laboratories in Texas, where about 200 scientists are now working on the material using 60 different examination methods. About three years ago, Osiris-Rex collected the sample from the celestial body using a complex maneuver.
NASA said the sample consists of dust and pieces of rubble of different sizes and weighs about 250 grams, roughly equivalent to the weight of a can of butter. Contrary to expectations, NASA scientists also found additional material from the asteroid Bennu inside and on board the capsule, which is why the investigation initially took longer than planned.
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