NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft flung a capsule the dimensions of a automotive tire onto a bombing vary in Utah on Sunday, delivering safely to Earth a sample of the intriguing and doubtlessly hazardous asteroid Bennu.
The capsule, launched 4 hours earlier by the spacecraft, parachuted onto the Utah Take a look at and Coaching Vary. Restoration groups in 4 helicopters raced to the touchdown web site in a fastidiously rehearsed effort designed to bag the capsule rapidly to decrease the danger of contamination.
They discovered the capsule on the desert ground, intact and sitting completely upright, as if it had taken pains to be presentable. A helicopter hauled the capsule on a 100-foot line to a specifically ready “clear room” in a navy hangar. It is going to be flown Monday to the NASA Johnson House Heart in Texas for scientific examine.
Mission managers, happy with the trajectory of the spacecraft, had voted early Sunday morning to proceed with releasing the capsule. It spent 4 hours nearing Earth earlier than plunging into the ambiance at 27,000 miles per hour. The mum or dad spacecraft then fired thrusters to make sure that it might not wind up in Utah, however would as an alternative transfer on to one other goal, the asteroid Apophis, with a scheduled encounter in 2029.