Mysteries of the Osiris capsule: What scientists are looking for in cosmic dust that could reveal the origin of the solar system

These samples, when analyzed, help scientists understand basic questions about the formation of planets and the origin of organic matter and water, the origin of life on Earth (Photo: NASA)

After Seven years and 6.21 billion kilometers, the mission capsule OSIRIS-REx From NASA with samples Asteroid Bennu It washed ashore yesterday in the Utah desert near Salt Lake City, USA.

Behind the orange-and-white parachute that led to the capsule’s landing, scientists waited for their rescue. Precious cargo: Dust and space rock fragments 4.5 billion years old.

Samples, weighing approx 250 gramswill be changed to today NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, There they are extracted, weighed and cataloged for subsequent analysis.

The successful return of the largest asteroid sample ever recovered marks the culmination of a 7-year mission that sent a van-sized robotic spacecraft to explore asteroid Bennu (via REUTERS).

task OSIRIS-REx (short for Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer) was the result of an ongoing effort by hundreds of astronomers and other scientists until it arrived on Earth in 2016 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The samples were taken in 2020, and NASA promised that the rocks would “help us understand the origin of organic matter and water that may have seeded life on Earth.”

All experts agree that it marks the origin of the capsule on our planet Milestone in space exploration and promises to deliver Answers about the origin of our solar system. The successful recovery of the largest asteroid sample in history is the result of a seven-year mission during which a robotic spacecraft, comparable to a transport van, was sent to study the asteroid Bennu. Collect samples of its stones and dustFinally bring them back to our planet.

This is how they preserved the capsule in a clean room in Utah

These samples can help scientists during analysis Better understand the formation of planets and the origin of organic matter and waterFundamental questions about the origin of life on Earth.

In an exclusive conversation with InfobayArgentinian engineer working for NASA Lucas Paganini Asteroids such as Bennu are explained as rocky celestial bodies, orbiting in space, that can measure from meters to several kilometers.

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“They are planetary or lunar debris from 4,000 million years ago orbiting our Sun. We call them time capsules or dinosaur fossils because they play such an important role in the history of the universe. Read its composition It is important to understand and approach the principles that underlie it These space systems may have brought water and other important and necessary elements to be given Origin of life on earth”, the scientist pointed out.

The Utah desert was chosen for the landing because of its geography and safety (NASA photo)

“The other big purpose of this mission is what we call ‘Planetary Defense’, and the study of various asteroids to catalog them and determine their danger due to their proximity to our planet. With this, you can Design tasks to make them collide or find diversion systems Happened with the recent NASA DART mission,” the Argentinian expert pointed out.

So far, the asteroid is known Bennu is about 500 meters in diameter. It comes from a large asteroid and its composition is rich in carbon. We also know that it has a hard surface like a children’s baseball field, where if it weren’t for the ship’s thrusters, its robotic arm would sink.”

“Today marks an extraordinary milestone not only for the OSIRIS-REx team, but for science as a whole,” said Dante Lauretta, Principal Investigator of OSIRIS-REx. University of ArizonaTucson, minutes after landing.

NASA scientists gather data next to the Osiris-Rex mission’s sample return capsule after it landed on Sunday (Photo: NASA)

“The successful delivery of the Bennu samples to Earth is a triumph of collective ingenuity and a testament to what we can achieve when we unite for a common purpose. But let us not forget: this may seem like the end of an incredible chapter, but in reality This is the beginning of another. We now have an unprecedented opportunity to analyze and explore these models in depth Secrets of our solar system” he added.

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NASA Administrator Bill Nelson expressed his excitement: “Congratulations to the OSIRIS-REx team for a perfect mission: the first return of an American asteroid model in history, which will deepen our understanding of the origin of our solar system and their training. “Bennu is a dangerous asteroid, and from the model we Learning will help us better understand the types of asteroids that could cross our path.”

After traversing the atmosphere at high speed, the capsule’s journey culminated when two parachutes were successfully deployed, allowing a soft landing in Utah.

Regarding the reception of the capsule and the expectations it created, Rich Burns, Project Manager for OSIRIS-REx At NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, “It was a World Series moment for us, in the ninth inning, the bases were loaded, and this team knocked it out of the park.”

Eden Hayes

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