The Future. NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has landed back on Earth filled with asteroid samples that contain the two most important elements for planet and life formation — carbon and water. It’s not alien life, but it’s a massive discovery that could set off a new wave of research and exploration among the stars. And thanks to a bevy of privatized space companies, it may also spark something of a deep-space treasure hunt.
It’s official: we got some very cool space rocks.
- The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft returned rock and particle samples from the asteroid Bennu that contained carbon (the primary building block of life) and water (in the form of hydrated clay minerals).
- That’s exactly what NASA hoped it would find in the potentially 4.5-billion-year-old asteroid, which is why it was chosen for research.
- The particles will be studied for decades, with data inputted into a database that other space organizations can access.
- Some samples are also heading to some undisclosed museums, so we, the non-cosmonauts, will soon be able to get a close look.
According to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, “The OSIRIS-REx sample is the biggest carbon-rich asteroid sample ever delivered to Earth and will help scientists investigate the origins of life on our own planet for generations to come.”