(Photo Credit: NASA/Keegan Barber)
For the first time in the history of the United States, NASA has successfully captured samples from an asteroid in deep space, which have now landed in the Utah desert after a seven-year journey. The Osiris-Rex spacecraft released a capsule containing the sample from a distance of nearly 63,000 miles away, and it landed on a stretch of military land four hours later, while the spacecraft continued its journey to chase after another asteroid.
According to NASA’s website, radar data confirmed that the space package entered the atmosphere at 10:42 a.m. off the coast of California, as planned. The drogue parachute, which is the smaller of two onboard, opened after the capsule entered the atmosphere to help with stability, before separating from the capsule. The main parachute deployed at 10:47 a.m., slowing the capsule down from hypersonic speed to 11 mph before it touched the ground.
One of the major concerns after the landing was ensuring that the contents did not become contaminated. However, to NASA’s relief, the capsule did not appear to be breached when it was recovered, and the 4.5-billion-year-old samples were free of contamination. The capsule was transported to a temporary clean room at the Defense Department’s Utah Text and Training Range two hours after landing, carried by a helicopter.
The capsule holds roughly a cup of rubble from the asteroid known as Bennu, which is supposedly carbon-rich. However, the exact amount of the sample will not be known until the container is opened in about a day or two. NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, who was in Utah training for her own space capsule mission, expressed her amazement at the successful landing, stating that “it’s like ‘Wow!’ This is just amazing. It can go from the movies, but this is reality.”
During the mission that took place three years ago, a portion of the collected material was inadvertently spilled and dispersed after an excessive amount was obtained, resulting in the lid becoming jammed. journalist recently presented what is claimed to be ‘non-human alien corpses’ to the Mexican Congress during a UFO hearing.
It is worth noting that Japan is the sole country, aside from the United States, to have successfully obtained samples from an asteroid. Specifically, they were able to collect approximately a teaspoon’s worth of material during two separate asteroid missions.
NASA’s recent collection on Sunday surpasses any previous retrieval from an object located beyond the moon. The Osiris-Rex spacecraft was launched into space in 2016, marking the commencement of a highly expensive mission valued at $1 billion. Harvard physicist Avi Loeb has faced criticism following the release of a study that suggests the existence of potential ‘interstellar’ life. However, he has defended his findings against these attacks.
After a two-year journey, the spacecraft reached Bennu and utilized a long stick vacuum to collect material from the small space rock. Upon its return to Earth, the mothership had traveled an astonishing distance of 4 billion miles.
The collected samples will be transported on Monday morning to a newly established laboratory at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. This facility already houses hundreds of pounds (kilograms) of moon rocks that were gathered by the Apollo astronauts.
(According to Fox News)