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Take a look at the full asteroid Bennu sample in all its glory

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Jan 22, 2024, 1:55:02 PMJan 22
What huge progress we have made. Just a few years ago only
science fiction authors would even be thinking about going
out and grabbing samples from an asteroid and bringing them
back to examine in out labs.


Take a look at the full asteroid Bennu sample in all its glory
NASA shared an image of what's inside the TAGSAM after finally getting
the lid off last week.
Cheyenne MacDonald
Cheyenne MacDonald
Weekend Editor
Sat, Jan 20, 2024, 8:13 AM PST·1 min read

8NASA/Erika Blumenfeld/Joseph Aebersold
Who doesn’t love showing off their collection of cool rocks? NASA was
finally able to get into the asteroid Bennu sample container last week
after struggling with it for a couple of months, and now, it’s sharing a
look at what’s inside. The space agency published a high-resolution
image of the newly opened Touch-and-Go-Sample Acquisition Mechanism
(TAGSAM) on Friday, revealing all the dust and rocks OSIRIS-REx scraped
off the asteroid’s surface.

The image is massive, so you can zoom in to see even the finer details
of the sample. Check out the full-sized version on NASA’s website.
There’s an abundance of material for scientists to work with, and as
OSIRIS-REx team member Lindsay Keller said back in September, they plan
to make the most of microanalytical techniques to “really tear it apart,
almost down to the atomic scale.” Asteroid Bennu, estimated to be about
4.5 billion years old, may hold clues into the formation of our solar
system and how the building blocks of life first came to Earth.

Scientists have already discovered signs of carbon and water in the
excess material they found on the outside of the TAGSAM. While they’d
hoped to get at least 2.1 ounces (60 grams) of regolith from the
asteroid, OSIRIS-REx was able to grab much more. The team obtained 2.48
ounces (70.3 grams) just from the “bonus” material accumulated on the
sample hardware. NASA plans to spend the next two years analyzing
portions of the sample, but the majority of it will be preserved for
future studies and to be shared with other scientists.

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