NASA spacecraft OSIRIS-REx completed a remarkable 6-second touch-and-go, collecting samples from asteroid Bennu, which is more than 200 million miles away from Earth.
The high-stakes mission saw OSIRIS-REx touch the Nightingale area of Bennu, extending its arm collection plate. In a tiny amount of time, the spacecraft blew small pieces of the 1,640-foot-wide Bennu into its collection device.
There was a chance OSIRIS-REx could have crashed into the asteroid, but the result was successful for the $800 million sample-return mission.
The pictures that reached Earth sent NASA scientists into orbit.
By studying the surface of the asteroid, the scientists hope to learn more about the formation of the solar system and how life evolved on Earth.
In addition, there could be valuable information in the collection of rocks as to the asteroid’s composition and how we can better defend our planet against such asteroid trajectories.
The next step is evaluate the pictures of the samples collection plate.
NASA scientists hope to have collected 2.1 ounces of asteroid Bennu.