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NEOROCKS

  /  Outreach   /  Osiris-Rex leaves Bennu

Osiris-Rex leaves Bennu

Osiris-Rex is coming home.

Nasa’s robotic prospector reached asteroid Bennu in 2018 and spent two years flying near and around it, before collecting rubble from the surface in October 2020. It is estimated that the spacecraft has collected between 200gr to 400gr of samples, cited as Nasa’s biggest cosmic haul since the Apollo moon rocks.

The trip back home started yesterday and should take two years, so we can expect analysis of the samples to start in 2023.

So what do we hope to learn from these samples? Bennu is believed to hold the preserved building blocks of the solar system. The samples could help us to understand how the planets formed and could help us to better understand the potential dangers of incoming asteroids. This is right up NEOROCK’s street, so we watch with interest!
Find out more about Bennu here

Photograph: © NASA JPL