Nov 28, 2023
Launched on Sept. 8, 2016, the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security-Regolith Explorer, or OSIRIS-REx, spacecraft traveled to a near-Earth asteroid named Bennu (formerly 1999 RQ36) and collected a sample of rocks and dust from the surface. The spacecraft flew by Earth on Sept. 24, 2023, delivering the capsule containing the sample, which landed at the Department of Defense's Utah Test and Training Range. Yesterday, NASA revealed the contents of the capsule live, and preliminary analysis revealed not only an abundance of space rocks in and around the capsule but also evidence of high-carbon content and water. Those findings and ones to come will help scientists investigate how planets formed and perhaps how life began, as well as improve our understanding of asteroids that could impact Earth.
Communications specialist Beth Johnson is joined by OSIRIS-Rex's principal investigator, Dante Lauretta. Join them in this special conversation about an amazing mission and what those space rocks have revealed and could further reveal. (Recorded 12 October 2020.)