After seven years, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx probe finally successfully returned surface samples of the asteroid Bennu to Earth. To be precise, what actually landed at the U.S. Department of Defense’s Utah Test and Training Range on the 24th local time was only the recovery pod carrying about 250g of samples. OSIRIS-REx itself has not returned to Earth. It has now started its “second life” and is flying to another asteroid Apophis.
According to NASA’s estimates, the samples collected from Bennu may be 4.5 billion years old. By analyzing it, researchers are expected to learn information about the composition of the planets and the chemical composition of the early solar system. In fact, NASA had also successfully transported samples back from asteroids before OSIRIS-REx, but so far OSIRIS-REx has obtained the largest number of samples. In addition to NASA, Japan’s JAXA’s Hayabusa 2 also collected about 5g of samples from the asteroid Ryugu. At that time, JAXA shared 10% of it with NASA, and NASA will reciprocate this time by giving back 0.5% of the Bennu samples.