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NASA's Spacecraft Exceeds Expectations With Record-Breaking Asteroid Sample Collection, Double The Anticipated Amount

NASA's Osiris-Rex mission has exceeded expectations, collecting double the anticipated amount of asteroid samples, marking a significant milestone in cosmic exploration beyond the moon. The spacecraft has delivered 121.6 grams of dust and pebbles from asteroid Bennu, setting a new record in space sample collection.

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Erika Blumenfeld and Joseph Aebersold/ NASA via AP
NASA's Spacecraft Exceeds Expectations With Record-Breaking Asteroid Sample Collection Photo: Erika Blumenfeld and Joseph Aebersold/ NASA via AP
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NASA has completed the tally of asteroid samples retrieved by a spacecraft last autumn, revealing that it has surpassed the initial goal by twice the amount of rubble returned.

On Thursday, officials announced that the Osiris-Rex spacecraft gathered 121.6 grams (4.29 ounces) of dust and pebbles from asteroid Bennu, marking the largest cosmic collection ever obtained from beyond the moon, equivalent to slightly more than half a cup.

NASA experienced delays in opening the sample container due to fasteners that were stuck longer than anticipated.

The black, carbon-rich samples, a first for NASA in terms of asteroid collection, are housed at a special curation laboratory located at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

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NASAs Spacecraft Exceeds Expectations With Record-Breaking Asteroid Sample Collection
NASA's Spacecraft Exceeds Expectations With Record-Breaking Asteroid Sample Collection Photo: NASA/Robert Markowitz
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Osiris-Rex delivered the samples in September last year, three years after procuring them from the asteroid. The mission, which cost $1 billion, could have yielded a larger haul, but rocks obstructed the container lid after the grab, leading to some samples drifting away.

Currently, the spacecraft is en route to another space rock; however, this will only involve a flyby without any collection of samples.

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