After sending asteroid sample to Earth, OSIRIS-REx spacecraft heads to next target
After traveling billions of miles across the heavens, a sample of the asteroid Bennu arrived in the Utah desert Sunday morning.
It's NASA's first mission that sent a spacecraft to collect an asteroid sample in space and return it back to Earth.
In order to survive the journey, the capsule had to slow from nearly 30,000 mph to just 11 mph to safely touch down.
Carina Bennett, with the OSIRIS-REx mission, says the sample could shed light on the origin of life on Earth, so it was important it didn’t become contaminated.
“We want to understand what actually exists on Bennu and so if there's things from Earth that has mixed in with it, that could get a little bit confusing," Bennett said.
While the sample is being transported to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, the spacecraft is heading to its next target, this time an asteroid named Apophis.
The spacecraft was launched in 2016 and was started by Dante Lauretta, a principal investigator with the University of Arizona.