Home » First U.S. Asteroid Sample Arrives in Houston for Scientific Analysis

First U.S. Asteroid Sample Arrives in Houston for Scientific Analysis

The first U.S. asteroid sample, delivered by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to Earth on Sunday, arrived at its permanent home at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston on Monday.

The mission team will spend the next few weeks in the clean room at the Johnson Space Center built exclusively for the sample from asteroid Bennu, said NASA.

The sample will be cared for, stored, and distributed to scientists worldwide, said the agency.

OSIRIS-REx is the first U.S. mission to collect a sample from an asteroid. The sample return on Sunday marked the first sample return mission of its kind in the United States and “will open a time capsule to the beginnings of our solar system,” said NASA.

Bennu is likely to be a well-preserved, 4.5-billion-year-old remanent of the early solar system, so the sample should provide insight into the role that similar asteroids played in the formation of planets and the delivery of organic material and water to Earth that may have ultimately led to life, according to NASA.

Data collected from the OSIRIS-REx mission will also help scientists better understand asteroids that could impact Earth and inform future asteroid deflection efforts, according to NASA.

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