NASA will give the public a look at the asteroid sample brought back to Earth by its OSIRIS-REx spacecraft next week. A of the reveal is set for 11 AM ET on Wednesday, October 11. The capsule containing rocks and dust taken from the surface of the near-Earth asteroid “Bennu” touched down at a Department of Defense training site in the Utah desert on September 24, and scientists have since been at work making their initial analyses.
In four days, we will be revealing the sample from asteroid Bennu collected from the #OsirisRex mission.
Tune in to our live broadcast starting at 11 am ET on Wednesday, Oct. 11. pic.twitter.com/pqZhDie3HK
— NASA's Johnson Space Center (@NASA_Johnson) October 6, 2023
OSIRIS-REx back in 2020 and spent the subsequent year-and-a-half observing the asteroid from above, before starting to make its way back toward Earth in May 2021. After its dropoff last month, the canister was brought to Houston, Texas to be opened at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. OSIRIS-REx, on the other hand, is still in space, now heading to an asteroid called Apophis under a new mission name, OSIRIS-APEX.
Asteroid Bennu is estimated to be over 4.5 billion years old, meaning its materials could hold clues into the formation of the solar system and how the building blocks of life made it to Earth. And, to scientists’ delight, the mission managed to capture more material than anyone expected. “The very best ‘problem’ to have is that there is so much material, it’s taking longer than we expected to collect it,” said , NASA’s deputy OSIRIS-REx curation lead. With the livestream coming up, we’ll soon know more about what they’ve found in that material so far.