Video NASA intends to scoop up material from the surface of the Bennu asteroid on 20 October, and has planned up to three retrieval attempts before returning any samples back to Earth.
"Bennu is like a time capsule," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, on Thursday. "It has been out there since the Earth's beginning 4.5 billion years ago."
NASA believes that Bennu holds the key to studying how the planets in the Solar System formed, and how they will evolve over time. Bennu is also a potentially hazardous asteroid – scientists estimate that there is a "non-negligible chance" that it could hit Earth some time in the 22nd century.
Launched in 2016, the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) probe has been orbiting Bennu, the spinning top-shaped asteroid 200 million miles away from Earth, since 2018. It has been trying ...
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