November 3rd, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Debuted a fragment of the asteroid Bennu It will be open to the public for the first time. This sample was deposited on Earth by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft on September 24th. The spacecraft did not land, instead dropping a capsule containing about 9 ounces of an asteroid sample to Earth. The spacecraft proceeded on a new mission called Osiris Apex. In 2029, the asteroid Apophis will come within 20,000 miles of Earth and be explored.
The stone on display is 0.3 inches in diameter and weighs just 0.005 ounces. The stone was discovered among rocks and dust collected by a rover in 2020, after a two-year exploration of Bennu.
[Related: NASA’s first asteroid-return sample is a goldmine of life-sustaining materials.]
osiris rex It stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security-Regolith Explorer and is the first U.S. mission to collect samples from an asteroid.spaceship traveled 1.4 billion miles From Earth to asteroid Bennu and back again.Bennu is Approximately 4.5 billion years ago Its origins date back to the critical first 10 million years of the solar system’s development. Its age provides scientists a window into what this era was like. A space rock is shaped like a spinning top. one-third of a mile wide at its widest point– Slightly wider than the height of the Empire State Building. It revolves around the sun between the orbits of Earth and Mars.
“The Osiris-Rex mission is an incredible scientific achievement that promises to reveal what makes our planet unique,” said Kirk Johnson, Director of the National Museum of Natural History Santo. I am. stated in a statement. “With the help of our partners at NASA, we are proud to be able to make one of these important samples available to the public for the first time.”
sample Labeled by NASA scientists as OREX-800027-0 It is located at the Johnson Space Center in Houston and is kept in a nitrogen environment to keep it safe from contamination. A CT scan of the stone on display revealed this. It is made up of dozens of small rocks. At some point, the pieces fused together again, and the entire stone was transformed by the presence of water. The alteration of the stone produced clay, iron oxides, iron sulfides, and carbonates as the main minerals. even carbon.
Samples from this mission contain chemical clues about the formation of the solar system. NASA scientists have already found evidence of essential elements such as carbon in the rocks outside the main sample container. These early samples also contain water-rich minerals.Scientists believe similar A water-bearing asteroid hit Earth billions of years agoprovided the water that eventually formed our planet’s first oceans.
[Related: NASA’s OSIRIS mission delivered asteroid samples to Earth.]
“Returning to Earth without exposure to the water-rich atmosphere and life forms that fill every corner of the planet, Bennu’s samples are a perfect example of the water and organic matter that existed before life arose and formed our unique planet.” “They have a promise to teach us about them.” Museum Meteorite Curator Tim McCoy stated in a statement. McCoy has been working on the Osiris-Rex mission for nearly 20 years as part of an international team of scientists.
According to Space.comA large crowd gathered to see the space rock, and NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, as well as other space agency and Smithsonian Institution officials, also attended the unveiling ceremony.Additional benne samples will be exhibited Later dates will also be held at the Alfie Norville Gem and Mineral Museum at the University of Arizona in Tucson and at Space Center Houston, located next to NASA’s Johnson Space Center.