US probe Osiris-Rex loses samples from asteroid Bennu

Nasa's artistic representation of the Osiris-Rex probe approaching the asteroid Bennu.

NASA / Goddard / Arizona State University / AFP

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The Osiris-Rex probe managed to collect samples from an asteroid on Tuesday, with a view to bringing them back to Earth for analysis.

But the collection was much more abundant than expected.

So much so that the tank where they are stored can no longer close, with the risk of losing everything.


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It is one of the most ambitious missions of NASA, which could fail, victim of its success.

Take samples from a piece of pebble orbiting the solar system to better understand the origin of it.

It is

the complex mission of NASA's Osiris-Rex probe

, which must bring back to Earth the fruit of its collection for analysis.

The direct debit operation took place on Tuesday, October 20.

The probe approached the asteroid Bennu, expelled a jet of gas, nitrogen, on its surface, and then sucked up the dust released.

The goal was to collect at least 60 grams.

400 grams of material taken

But after analysis, nearly 400 grams were collected by the machine.

Victim of the success of the maneuver, it no longer manages to close the tank where the samples are stored, it overflows, and the latter are slowly escaping into space.

Since the American space agency noticed the problem.

An order has been sent to the probe to minimize its activities while finding a solution, as there is a risk of losing most of the collection.

Yet it is a real treasure, never has such a quantity of extraterrestrial matter been brought back to earth since the

Apollo lunar missions


A return is expected in September 2023, if the issue is resolved.


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  • United States

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