Back from asteroid 101955 Bennu
a 110-pound, 31-inch wide sample return capsule
rests in a
desert on planet Earth
in this photo, taken at the
Department of Defense Utah Test and Training Range near Salt Lake City
last Sunday, September 24
Dropped off by the OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft, the capsule looks
charred from the extreme temperatures experienced during its
blistering descent through Earth's dense atmosphere.
OSIRIS-Rex began its home-ward journey from Bennu in May of 2021.
Delivered to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston on September 25,
the capsule's canister is expected to contain an uncontaminated
sample of about a half pound (250 grams) of
Bennu's loosely packed regolith
Working in a new laboratory designed for the OSIRIS-REx mission,
scientists and engineers will complete the
canister disassembly process
and plan to unveil the sample of
the near-Earth asteroid
in a broadcast event on October 11.