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NASA’s first asteroid samples land safely in Utah

Asteroids land in Utah

NASA’s first asteroid sample landed safely on Earth on Sunday morning near Salt Lake City.

The sample, which is a capsule of rocks and dust from asteroid Bennu, was released in a flyby of Earth by NASA’s Osiris-Rex spacecraft, which released the sample around 63,000 miles above the surface of the planet, NASA said in its announcement. The sample landed nearly four hours later in a targeted area of the Department of Defense’s Utah Test and Training Range near Salt Lake City.

The sample was taken by helicopter to a temporary clean room where it was connected to a continuous flow of nitrogen to keep out contaminants from Earth, leaving the sample pure for research.

Scientists estimate the capsule holds at least a cup of rubble but will not be sure until the container is opened in the coming days, according to The Associated Press, which said the sample marks the biggest haul from beyond the Moon.


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