Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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NASA’s first asteroid sample return mission is on track for a September 2023 delivery. The mission, which launched in 2022, is designed to collect and return a sample of asteroid Bennu’s surface material to Earth for study. Bennu was chosen as the target asteroid because it is a primitive, carbon-rich asteroid that may contain clues about the early solar system and the origin of life on Earth.

The mission team is currently working on the design and development of the spacecraft and sample collection device, as well as conducting testing and simulations to ensure the mission’s success. The sample return capsule is expected to land at the Utah Test and Training Range in the fall of 2023, where it will be retrieved and transported to the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) Division at NASA’s Johnson Space Center for analysis. This exciting mission has the potential to provide valuable insights into the history and evolution of our solar system.

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