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OSIRIS-REx Sample from Bennu successfully recovered

Engineers today successfully recovered the asteroid sample capsule from the probe OSIRIS-REx, carrying several grams of material from the potentially dangerous asteroid Bennu.

The samples will be shipped to special facilities to protect the material from being exposed to Earth’s environment when the capsule is opened. It will take several months at least before the first research results are announced.

OSIRIS-REx, now renamed OSIRIS-APEX, now heads for the potentially dangeous asteroid Apophis, where it will orbit that asteroid beginning in 2029, shortly after Apophis makes its next close fly-by of Earth.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Questioner

    I had to smile when I saw that the not very light capsule had to be carried into the NASA building by two women, while three men stood more or less idle nearby.

  • John

    How the heck did they ever get a license to pull off that stunt? !

    And somebody get NASA some bandwidth, the video of the entry was pixelated and jumpy. Sometimes I think influencers and media propagandists do that intentionally, to ‘keep it real’. They also managed to go off target at exactly the time of main parachute deployment.

    Oh well, I’ll be interesting to see how much they got and how it analyzes.

  • Ray Van Dune

    Apparently the main chute opened at about 20,000 feet instead of 5,000, which the announcer said was the reason the capsule landed early. How’s that work, again?

  • Patrick Underwood

    Apparently (not yet confirmed) the drogue did not deploy, and only came out at main chute deploy. Something went wrong, but all’s well that ends well!

  • Ray Van Dune

    I never saw this drogue, and was having flashbacks to the last such mission that came back to Utah, with a comet flyby sample. Someone installed an accelerometer backwards, as I recall, so there was no chute at all. Ouch!

  • wayne

    Andromeda Strain (1971)
    “There’s a fire, sir.”

  • John

    I was thinking that drogue chute sure is small. So small not even there. Revoke the landing license for such shoddy engineering.

  • Calvin Dodge

    Yeah, Wayne, The Andromeda Strain came to mind to me, too.

  • wayne

    HAR– was watching this Live and waiting for the camera feed to go black….

    I’ll drop this in here, it’s from the DVD:

    The Making of Andromeda Strain

  • Richard M

    NASA is taking a well-deserved beating this week for the poor management of Mars Sample Return, but today’s success reminds us that NASA *is* still capable of doing a planetary science mission on budget, and on schedule.

    But it needs to be well conceived. It needs to be well managed. And the ostensible results have to justify the dollars spent on it.

  • Patrick Underwood

    NASA has sent successful probes to every planet (and ex-planet) in the Solar System, and put humans on the Moon. No other entity, including modern and extinct superpowers, has come within a country mile of such accomplishment.

    And now even NASA itself says SLS is unaffordable. So there is hope.

  • MDN

    While it is great to see that the Bennu sample return capsule was successfully recovered I think given the drogue chute failure that has to be.chalked up to luck as much as skill. NASA really dodged some major egg on their face and I bet they learn no humility from it. Time to step back a bit from their Rules for Thee but Not for Me attitude towards private space.

  • Richard M

    It still remains unclear to me just what the drogue chute DID do. The press conference was confusing on this point.

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