Osiris-Rex mission: Initial lid removed, exposing black dust and debris

Scientists found black dust and debris on the avionics deck of the OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security – Regolith Explorer) spacecraft on Tuesday after the initial lid was removed, according to a report by the US space agency. NASA. The spacecraft returned safely to Earth and landed in the Utah desert on Sunday carrying samples from asteroid Bennu.

Researchers removed the lid of the sample return canister on Tuesday. (NASA)

After this it was taken to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. According to the space agency, the center is home to a team of experts specializing in the world’s largest collection and preservation of astronomical materials. The researchers here will be responsible for carefully disassembling the instrument Touch and Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) to access the bulk sample within the capsule. The work is being conducted in a laboratory specifically designed for the OSIRIS-REx mission. The NASA report further states that the aluminum lid was removed inside a glovebox designed to handle large pieces of equipment.

Once TAGSAM is separated from the canister, it will be placed in a sealed transfer container to maintain a nitrogen atmosphere for approximately two hours. This container allows the team to move the TAGSAM to another special glovebox, which speeds up the disassembly process.

Here’s how NASA plans to analyze the sample

The team will work in a special room at Johnson’s for the Bennu samples. This room features custom glove boxes designed to hold the canister with the TagSam head, which is a part of the robotic arm. The TAGSAM head is like a hand at the end of a robot arm. It picked up rocks and dust from asteroid Bennu on October 20, 2020.

-Scientists and technicians have practiced these tasks for many months and are ready to follow the steps to extract the sample from TAGSAM.

-First, they will place the canister in the glove box and take it apart. Then, they will remove the TAGSAM chief. This is where most of the samples are expected to be. They will keep a record and collect every instrument and dust they find from the asteroid.

-The researchers’ goal was to study the asteroid dust after it was isolated for the first time. This will give them an early look at the chemical, mineralogical and physical characteristics as well as the types of rocks that may be in the larger sample.

Sample will be revealed on October 11, will be livestreamed

A team of scientists and engineers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, along with a variety of experts, will collaborate to isolate the samples. They will present the sample to the public during a special live broadcast event on October 11, which will also be livestreamed on NASA’s official website NASA.gov/live.

The first American asteroid sample, brought back by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, will receive the necessary care, be safely stored, and made available to scientists around the world for their research.


The OSIRIS-REx mission by NASA, marking the first attempt to collect an asteroid sample, successfully returned to Earth on Sunday (Sept. 24), seven years after its launch on Sept. 8, 2016.

This spacecraft capsule contains untouched material from asteroid Bennu, including rocks and dust collected from the asteroid’s surface in 2020. The specimen will serve as a valuable window for future generations of scientists, providing insight into a period dating back approximately 4.5 billion years. The sun and planets were in the process of forming.

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