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OSIRIS-REx captures treasure trove of samples from asteroid Bennu

Posted On: 25 Oct 2020   |   Posted By: Astronomy Now

OSIRIS-REx captures treasure trove of samples from asteroid Bennu

After OSIRIS-REx's TAGSAM sample collector bumped into the soil of the asteroid Bennu, flight controllers repositioned the device to get a glimpse inside. They found it jam packed with small rocks and soil far in excess of the 60 grams required for mission success. Image: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona
Scientists and engineers knew right away that the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft's “TAGSAM” collector successful contacted the surface of asteroid Bennu on 20 October. But they didn't know for sure what, if anything, had been captured until they got a chance to aim a camera into the mechanism's interior two days later.
And they were thrilled by what they saw.
While 60 grams was the minimum requirement for mission success, the photos revealed hundreds of grams of material in the 20 percent of the TAGSAM collector visible to the camera.
“Quite honestly, we could not have performed a better collection experiment,” said Dante Lauretta, the OSIRIS-REx principal investigator. “So with all of that underneath...

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