NASA confirms OSIRIS-REx has secured its asteroid sample

The asteroid sampling mission grabbed so many rocks they were leaking out, but now they're stowed away.

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Richard Lawler
October 29th, 2020
In this article: NASA, Bennu, OSIRIS-REX, asteroid, tomorrow
The left image shows the OSIRIS-REx collector head hovering over the Sample Return Capsule (SRC) after the Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism 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 the StowCam camera.
NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona/Lockheed Martin

After a process that took a couple of days, the OSIRIS-REx mission has stowed away the sample of regolith that it snatched from an asteroid last week. Shortly after ,the team discovered that small particles appeared to be leaking from the collector head, and adjusted their plans to stow the sample within the spacecraft ahead of schedule.

Now they’ve confirmed that the Sample Return Capsule is securely closed, as the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission makes its way back to Earth. It’s scheduled to depart the area in March, and deliver the sample to Earth on September 24th, 2023.

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