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It's finally here: a huge image showing the remaining asteroid sample from Osiris Rex

It's finally here: a huge image showing the remaining asteroid sample from Osiris Rex

NASA has opened the container containing the rest of the Osiris-Rex asteroid sample and released the first image of the material it contains. The photo shows dust and a whole series of small stones in high resolution. The US Space Agency said that the largest of them is one centimeter in diameter. The letter does not explain how heavy the substance is, as more than 70 grams have already been confiscated. The mission's goal was to bring at least 60 grams of material from the asteroid Bennu to Earth. The accessible material should now be cataloged so that research institutions and museums can order parts of it.


Details from sample picture
(Image: NASA/Erika Blumenfeld and Joseph Aebersold)

The now published image of the remaining specimen has a resolution of 11648 x 8736 pixels. These recordings must also accompany the additional sample collection, Officials explained. The next step will be to remove the metal ring around it before weighing and packing the material. It will therefore take weeks for the exact mass of the sample to be known. After it took several months to remove the stuck cap, those responsible for this operation continue to be cautious. At the same time, the first samples are already being examined, and they may even be displayed in the museum.

The Osiris-Rex space probe collected the sample from the asteroid Bennu and dropped it over the Earth at the end of September. After a one-minute descent, it landed suspended by a parachute near Salt Lake City in the Utah desert. Within a few minutes, NASA specialists arrived on site and were able to recover the capsule. It is by far the largest direct sample from an asteroid, with the Japanese probes Hayabusa and Hayabusa 2 only delivering a few grams to Earth. Much carbon and water, the building blocks of terrestrial life, have already been found in the material extracted from Bennu.

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The main part of the asteroid sample was secured, among other things, with more than 35 seals, which were also intended to protect it from contamination by the Earth's atmosphere. It was discovered in mid-October that two of them could not be opened. Since the sample container can only be worked on in a special sealed container and using specially approved tools, special screwdrivers had to be developed. Particular care was taken to avoid damaging the container. Two newly developed devices were completed a few days ago and the container was finally opened.


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