Scientists gasped after they opened the lid of NASA's asteroid sample capsule

NASA recently landed a capsule on Earth containing samples from asteroid billions of miles away, and now scientists have finally opened it.

1 minute & 32 seconds read time

NASA made history this week when it safely landed asteroid samples for the very first time back on Earth, paving the way for researchers to develop a deeper understanding of these space rocks and the solar system's evolution.

NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft delivered the capsule containing samples from the asteroid Bennu to the Utah desert at 10:52 a.m. EDT on September 24, 2023. Notably, Bennu is located approximately 4 billion miles away from Earth, and is the first asteroid sample NASA has ever collected, marking a milestone for the space agency.

The container containing the samples was immediately transported to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, and has now been cracked open. According to a new blog post on NASA's website and posts on the space agency's social media channels, the lid was taken off the canister, and inside was "dark powder and sand-sized particles on the inside of the lid and base," per the NASA Astromaterials X account.

Scientists gasped after they opened the lid of NASA's asteroid sample capsule 2514

The container is expected to carry around 250 grams of asteroid material, which NASA writes on its blog, making Johnson Space Center the home to the "world's largest collection of astromaterials".

"Johnson houses the world's largest collection of astromaterials, and curation experts there will perform the intricate disassembly of the Touch and Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) to get down to the bulk sample within. These operations are happening in a new laboratory designed specifically for the OSIRIS-REx mission. The aluminum lid was removed inside a glovebox designed to enable working with the large piece of hardware," writes NASA

The space agency will reveal the sample to the world via a livestream scheduled for 11 a.m. ET on October 11.

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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