You can visit a piece of Bennu

by | November 29, 2023, 8:06 PM | Solar Systems

Credit: NMNH

We would be remiss if we didn’t update you all on the Bennu sample return mission. As of writing, no word has been released on if the science team has managed to get the TAGSAM capsule open, yet. Remember how that boop became a shove and the capsule had trouble closing on all the sample contained within? Well, that is still a problem. They haven’t been able to open the capsule because it is so stuffed with material, and two of the 35 fasteners cannot be opened using the tools in the mission’s glovebox. 

However! The target goal of the sample return mission was 60g of Bennu rock. And just from what has been collected from the outside of the container on the sample head and under the mylar flap covering the sample head, the team has recovered over 70 grams worth of material. 

Analysis of that material is already underway, and some has already been distributed to various agencies. Meanwhile, the sample container is being kept in a sealed bag full of nitrogen-rich air to keep the sample inside stable and free from Earthly contamination.

Plus, if you happen to be in Washington, D.C., you can visit a small piece of Bennu, which is now on display in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.