NASA‘s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft recently had a second touchdown to collect a sample from the Bennu asteroid.
The Bennu asteroid sample, consisting of dirt and gravel, was initially brought to the Utah desert.
The Bennu asteroid sample was later transported to Houston, where it will be studied for insights into planetary formation, the origins of life, and the potential impacts of asteroids on Earth.
The spacecraft OSIRIS-REx was launched in 2016 and reached the Bennu asteroid in 2018.
It studied the Bennu asteroid closely for 22 months and successfully collected a Bennu asteroid sample, making it the first time a NASA probe has done so.
In May 2021, OSIRIS-REx left the Bennu asteroid and released its sample capsule, which landed on Earth as planned.
According to NASA, the Bennu asteroid is an ancient object in space that orbits alongside other heavenly bodies and could potentially contain molecules that existed when life originated on Earth due to its extreme age.
The asteroid Bennu may have valuable resources such as platinum and gold. Studying Bennu will help determine if asteroid mining is feasible during deep-space exploration. Although rare metals are important, water is likely the most crucial resource on Bennu.
The NASA-funded Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research team discovered the Bennu asteroid in 1999. The chances of the Bennu asteroid impacting Earth between the years 2175 and 2199 are low at 1-in-2,700, scientists still want to study it, NASA added.