NASA confirms largest asteroid sample ever collected, double what was expected

NASA has confirmed its OSIRIS-REx spacecraft collected more than doubled the expected amount of asteroid samples that have since been returned to Earth.

1 minute & 14 seconds read time

NASA successfully gathered more samples from asteroid Bennu than it initially anticipated, with the OSIRIS-REx mission now being deemed more than a success.

NASA confirms largest asteroid sample ever collected, double what was expected 362415

NASA's ORISIS-REx spacecraft delivered more than 120 grams of Bennu asteroid samples back to Earth on September 24, 2023, with the space agency now saying it was the largest asteroid sample ever collected in space and more than twice the total amount of weight than what was required for the mission to be called a success.

NASA needed to recover at least 60 grams of asteroid material to meet the goals of the mission, and when the Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) head was opened, researchers basked their eyes on the treasure trove of ancient asteroid material.

The biggest problem faced by NASA wasn't necessarily the recovery of the samples but opening the capsule back on Earth. The disassembly of the TAGSAM head proved to be much more difficult than initially anticipated as the capsule head had two fasteners that engineers struggled to open, mostly due to the capsule being placed within an airtight chamber to prevent contamination and access was restricted to glove sleeves as pictured above.

The fasteners were removed in January after new tools were designed, and here's what NASA recovered:

"The remaining Bennu sample was revealed and carefully poured into wedge-shaped containers. 1.81 ounces (51.2 grams) were collected from this pour. Combined with the previously measured 2.48 ounces (70.3 grams) and additional particles collected outside of the pour, the bulk Bennu sample mass totals 4.29 ounces (121.6 grams). NASA will preserve at least 70% of the sample at Johnson for further research by scientists worldwide, including future generations," wrote the space agency in its blog

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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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