NASA capsule carrying asteroid samples lands in US
It marks the third and largest asteroid sample to have ever been brought to Earth in history
Ending its seven-year long expedition, a NASA space capsule carrying samples from the surface of an asteroid made its return to Earth on Sunday.
It marks the third and largest asteroid sample to have ever been brought to Earth in history.
The OSIRIS-REx capsule, launched by NASA in collaboration with the University of Arizona, made a parachute landing in the Utah desert.
Why is the OSIRIS-REx mission important?
The mission was launched in September 2016 to collect samples from Bennu, an asteroid rich in carbon and classified as a "near-Earth object."
The capsule landed on Bennu's surface in 2020 and collected about nine ounces (250 grams) of dust from its stony surface.
"This sample return is really historic," NASA scientist Amy Simon told the AFP news agency. "This is going to be the biggest sample we've brought back since the Apollo moon rocks" were returned to Earth.
Scientists believe that by examining the samples, we can gain a better understanding of how our solar system was formed and how Earth became habitable.