First look at Bennu asteroid samples suggests space rock may even be 'a fragment of an ancient ocean world'

Scientists are now examining bits and pieces plucked, bagged and tagged from asteroid Bennu, the cosmic mother lode, provided by NASA's Origin, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification and Conservation – Regolith Explorer mission.

Known in short astro-speak as OSIRIS-REx, the seven-year mission began on Sept. 24, 2023 brought the material home in a sample return canister that was parachuted into a remote Utah area by the Department of Defense. Testing and training range. Those distant samples are believed to contain remnants from the formation of the Solar System 4.5 billion years ago.

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