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Touchdown! Asteroid Bennu sample successfully lands on Earth

The sample return capsule from the OSIRIS-REx mission is seen shortly after touching down in the Utah desert, on . (Credits: NASA/Keegan Barber)

Yesterday, the asteroid sample collected as part of the NASA-led OSIRIS-REx mission landed in the Utah desert. In return for our contribution to this mission, a portion of the material will go to Canada to be studied by generations of scientists.

The sample retrieved on asteroid Bennu could hold the answer to some of the most fundamental questions about the solar system's history and the origins of water and life on Earth.

The Canadian OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter instrument played a key role in the mission. It was used to scan and measure the shape of the entire surface of the asteroid to help select the best site to collect the sample.

Next steps

The sample was sent to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, where it will be curated and distributed to scientists and international collaborators. CSA experts and Canadian scientists will participate in the selection of the material that will make up the Canadian sample, set to arrive in Canada no earlier than .

Canada will become the fifth country in the world to receive and curate a sample collected in space.

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