NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has left the 4.5 billion-year-old near-Earth asteroid Bennu with a sample of rocks and dust it has collected. After orbiting the Sun twice, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is due to reach Earth on September 24, 2023. OSIRIS-REx has captured images and 3D maps of Bennu’s rocky terrain,
NASA has recently announced that its OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has begun a 2.5-year journey back to Earth after reportedly collecting samples from an asteroid called Bennu.
Scientists said that since asteroids are debris from the solar system’s formation around 4.5 billion years ago, they could contain clues to the origins of life on Earth.
Here are more details about OSIRIS-REx’s mission.
On May 10, OSIRIS-REx fired its main engines at maximum thrust for seven minutes, sending it away from the 4.5 billion-year-old asteroid, hurtling homewards at around 600 miles per hour.
The capsule containing asteroid samples will reportedly be recovered from Utah’s West Desert on September 24, 2023, after OSIRIS-REx jettisons it flying past Earth. This would mark the completion of its primary mission.
The agency will reportedly distribute the samples to research laboratories around the world but it will preserve 75 percent of the samples at Johnson Space Center for future generations to study using technology that hasn’t yet been created.