‘Touchdown’: Space capsule with NASA’s first asteroid samples lands in desert in Utah

UTAH — NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft sent a capsule about the size of a tire from a car, which successfully landed Sunday in a Utah desert. The capsule contains a sample of the Bennu asteroid, according to The Washington Post.

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Generations of scientists will study the material from Bennu in laboratories on Earth to better understand how the solar system evolved and where the chemical ingredients for life may have originated,” NASA said in a statement.

“This marks the U.S.’s first sample return mission of its kind and will open a time capsule to the beginnings of our solar system,” NASA said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

It is the first asteroid sample that NASA has gotten after a seven-year journey, according to The Associated Press.

Aside from the United States now, Japan was the only other country to get asteroid samples which they got about a teaspoon of a sample from a pair of missions, the AP reported.

The U.S. sample is “the biggest haul from beyond moon,” according to the AP. The hope is that the samples will help scientists to understand how the Earth was formed and how life started on the planet.

The recovery effort in Utah included helicopters and a temporary clean room set up at the Defense Department’s Utah Test and Training Range, according to the AP.

On Monday, the samples will be flown to the NASA Johnson Space Center in Texas, the Post reported.