The 7 Year Journey to Bring Asteroid Rubble Home to Utah
Imagine embarking on a grand journey of seven years through the darkness of space. You pass sights and sounds you wouldn’t be able to comprehend, and you truly realize how small you are in this wide universe. So, what is the goal of this grand journey?
Rocks. Not a lot of rocks, but yes, rocks.
NASA launched the spacecraft Osiris-Rex in 2016 with the goal of collecting rubble from asteroid Bennu. Collecting this sample could possibly lead to developments in understanding how planets are formed.
The Osiris-Rex made its way across the solar system to reach its destination, passing gas giants and dwarf planets alike. However, the journey was not a short one. It took Osiris-Rex about four years to land on asteroid Bennu.
Let’s put that into perspective. It takes about six months to reach Mars from Earth. If it took the spacecraft four years to reach Bennu, then you can begin to imagine the distance travelled.
After collecting the sample, which measured about a cupful, Osiris-Rex began its long journey back to Earth.
In the span of time it took the spacecraft to return home, a pandemic broke out, a controversial election took place, NFT’s became a thing, and artificial intelligence grew by leaps and bounds.
It wasn’t until September 24, 2023, that Osiris-Rex finally made it home to good ol’ Mother Earth, and the drop off point for the sample just so happened to be here in Utah.
With that seven-year journey done and completed, you’d think Osiris-Rex would finally get some time off to kick back and drink a battery acid martini or something, but no.
Osiris-Rex is already on its way to another asteroid to collect more samples. No rest for the automated I guess. Godspeed Osiris-Rex and have fun playing with rocks.