February 21, 2024

NASA has revealed that it has already processed 70.3 grams of rocks and mud collected by the OSIRIS-REx mission from asteroid Bennu. Meaning the mission has approach exceeded its objective of bringing 60 grams of asteroid samples again to Earth — particularly since NASA scientists have but to open the first pattern container that made its approach again to our planet in September. Apparently, they’re struggling to open the mission’s Contact-and-Go Pattern Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) and couldn’t take away two of its 35 fasteners utilizing the instruments at the moment out there to them.

The scientists are processing the samples inside a specialised glovebox (pictured above) with a move of nitrogen with the intention to hold them from being uncovered to our ambiance and any contaminants. They can not simply use any implement to interrupt the container’s fasteners open both: The software should match contained in the glovebox, and it additionally should not compromise the samples’ integrity. NASA has sealed the first container pattern for now, whereas it is creating the process to have the ability to open it over the subsequent few weeks.

If you happen to’re questioning the place the 70.3 grams of rocks and mud got here from, effectively, NASA collected a part of it from the exterior pattern receptacle however exterior TAGSAM itself. It additionally features a small portion of the samples inside TAGSAM, taken by holding down its mylar flap and reaching inside with tweezers or a scoop. NASA’s preliminary evaluation of the fabric printed earlier this month mentioned it confirmed proof of excessive carbon content material and water, and additional research may assist us perceive how life on Earth started. The company plans to proceed analyzing and “characterizing” the rocks and mud it has already taken from the pattern container, so we could hear extra particulars in regards to the samples even whereas TAGSAM stays sealed.

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