Returning asteroid sample could help uncover the origins of life and the solar system

Artist impression of Hayabusa 2 approaching asteroid Ryugu. Credit: Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR)/wikipedia, CC BY-SA What is your idea of an asteroid? Many people think of them as potato-shaped, inert and perhaps rather dull, pock-marked objects—far away in deep space. But over the last ten years, two Japanese space missions – Hayabusa […]

NASA asteroid probe stows space-rock sample for return to Earth

The left image shows OSIRIS-REx’s collector head hovering over the Sample Return Capsule (SRC) after the probe’s robotic arm moved it into the proper position for capture. The right image shows the collector head secured onto the capture ring in the SRC. Both images were captured by OSIRIS-REx’s StowCam camera. (Image credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona/Lockheed […]

OSIRIS-REx spacecraft goes for early stow of asteroid sample

This illustration shows NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft stowing the sample it collected from asteroid Bennu on Oct. 20, 2020. The spacecraft will use its Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) arm to place the TAGSAM collector head into the Sample Return Capsule (SRC). Credit: NASA/University of Arizona, Tucson NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission is ready to perform an early […]

NASA spacecraft sent asteroid rubble flying in sample grab

In this image taken from video released by NASA, the Osiris-Rex spacecraft touches the surface of asteroid Bennu on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. (NASA via AP) NASA’s Osiris-Rex spacecraft crushed rocks and sent rubble flying as it briefly touched an asteroid, a strong indication that samples were collected for return to Earth, officials said Wednesday. […]

Why scooping an asteroid sample is harder than it looks

The sampler head of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft works not unlike a reverse vacuum cleaner, designed to collect loose material from the surface of asteroid Bennu on Oct. 20. Credit: .NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center When NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft descends toward the surface of Bennu on Oct. 20, it will be the first time that a U.S.-led […]