Orak was excitedly bubbling as he joined his friends at the MysticSpace Corner. The news of NASA’s extraordinary mission captured everyone’s attention.
“Hey, did you all hear about the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA, the space agency of the United States) latest adventure?” Orak said with eagerness in his voice.
Verum, Scorch, and Felix leaned in to know more.
Orak continued, “NASA just got its hands on a capsule containing soil from an asteroid called Bennu. You must remember asteroids from our discussions, the tiny rocks orbiting the Sun. It’s the first time that the Americans have brought back extraterrestrial material since the Apollo missions!”
Felix raised an eyebrow. “That sounds incredible, Orak. How did they manage to do that?”
Orak explained, “Well, it’s part of a mission called OSIRIS-REx, which has been ongoing for seven years. They launched a spacecraft in 2016, sent it to Bennu, collected a sample in 2020, and now it’s back on Earth.”
Scorch chimed in, “How much material did they bring back?”
“About 250 grams,” Orak replied. “It’s sealed in a canister and was flown to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.”
Verum looked puzzled. “What will they do with it now?”
“They’re going to open the canister and extract the sample carefully,” Orak answered. “Then they’ll create an inventory of the rocks and dust and distribute pieces of Bennu to scientists worldwide.”
Felix grinned. “That’s amazing! What’s the nitrogen purge they mentioned?”
Orak clarified, “It’s a process to keep the sample pure. They use nitrogen, which doesn’t react with other chemicals, to prevent earthly contaminants from affecting the sample.”
As they discussed the mission, Orak, Verum, Scorch, and Felix marvelled at the incredible achievements of space exploration and the knowledge it could bring to humanity.