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NASA's probe OSIRIS-REx performed an impressive maneuver when it touched down on asteroid Bennu, for just 16 seconds. Twelve years of hard work and preparation for those 16 seconds.
During that time on the surface, it collected dust that scientists hope can answer the origin of our Solar System.
Bennu is just 500 meters across, which makes the gravity too low to land permanently. Instead, OSIRIS-REx extended an arm to grab the dust sample.
It then lifted off just a few seconds later.
“Everything went just exactly perfect,” Dante Lauretta, principal investigator for OSIRIS-REx at the University of Arizona, said afterward.
"We think we actually might be coming back with a baby picture of what the solar system was like, of what our chemistry was like, billions of years ago," Michelle Thaller from NASA said.
"We're looking for our own origins out there, and that's why we've gone so far to bring a bit of Bennu back."
The samples will return to Earth in a canister that will land in Utah in 2023.
Warp Institute, who runs Warp News, also runs Warp Space Program. It supports the world's first private mission to an asteroid.
Sakke Teerikoski helped to gather information for this news article.
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