Last week, after several months, NASA finally got to the container with samples from asteroid Bennu and now she shared about a look at what’s inside. The space agency released an image of the newly opened mechanism on Friday TAGSAM (Touch-and-Go-Sample Acquisition Mechanism) in high resolution that shows dust and rockswhich the OSIRIS-REx probe collected from the surface of the asteroid.
The picture was taken in high resolution, so you can zoom in and see even the finest details. On full size version you can look at the NASA website.
Scientists have available large amount of material, which they can work with, and as OSIRIS-REx team member Lindsay Keller said back in September, they plan to make the most of microanalytical techniques to, in their own words, dissect it almost down to the atomic level. Asteroid Bennu, estimated to be around 4.5 billion years old, may be a source of information about the formation of the Solar System and how the building blocks of life first appeared on Earth.
Scientists have already discovered signs of carbon and water in the excess material they found on the outside of TAGSAM. Although they originally hoped to retrieve at least 60 grams of regolith from the asteroid, the probe ended up picking up much more. Just from the material randomly accumulated on the sample hardware (that is, unplanned), the team obtained 70.3 grams. NASA plans to spend the next two years by analyzing parts of the samplebut most of it will be kept for future studies and made available to other scientists.