It was a first for the United States — only Japan has scored asteroid samples.
“Touchdown declared,” a flight controller announced to cheers and applause. “Sampling is in progress.”
Confirmation came from the Osiris-Rex spacecraft as it made contact with the surface of the asteroid Bennu more than 200 million miles away. But it could be a week before scientists know how much, if much of anything, was grabbed and whether another try will be needed. If successful, Osiris-Rex will return the samples in 2023.
“I can’t believe we actually pulled this off,” said lead scientist Dante Lauretta of the University of Arizona. “The spacecraft did everything it was supposed to do.”
Osiris-Rex took 4 1/2 hours to make its way down from its tight orbit around Bennu, following commands sent well in advance by ground controllers near Denver.
Bennu’s gravity was too low for the spacecraft to land — the asteroid is just 1,670 feet (510 meters) across. As a result, it had to reach out with its 11-foot (3.4-meter) robot arm and attempt to grab at least 2 ounces (60 grams) of Bennu.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
BIG TECH STOCKS FLEX MUSCLES AGAIN AFTER A ROUGH WINTER
Big Tech stocks are flexing their enormous strength again, after getting knocked around a bit earlier this year.
BEFRIEND YOUR MONEY AND REAP THE BENEFITS
What’s your relationship with money? Maybe your personal finances are like a distant cousin you barely think about — or an unsettling stranger you avoid. Or perhaps money feels like your enemy, frustrating you and rarely doing what you want.
NASCAR'S FUTURE IS HERE: NEXT GEN CAR FINALLY ARRIVES
NASCAR’s next-generation race car is finally here after two years of hype and hope that it will revolutionize the stock car series.
AIRTAGS: NEXT-GENERATION TRACKING TECHNOLOGY HAS ARRIVED
Two years after they were first rumored, Apple finally lifted the lid on its tracking device AirTag at its Spring Loaded event in April, designed to help consumers keep track of items that matter most.
VERIZON SELLS INTERNET TRAILBLAZERS YAHOO AND AOL FOR $5B
AOL and Yahoo are being sold again, this time to a private equity firm.
MEREDITH TO SELL TV STATION DIVISION TO GRAY TELEVISION
Magazine publisher and multimedia company Meredith Corp. said this week it will sell its Local Media Group consisting of 17 television stations to Gray Television Inc. for $2.7 billion in cash and will focus on expanding its print and digital magazines business.
LATIN AMERICA LOOKS TO SPACE, DESPITE LIMITATIONS ON GROUND
Mars missions, astronauts coming and going at the International Space Station, China’s increasingly ambitious space program. Space-related news is flowing, and not just from the world’s richest, biggest nations. Take Latin America.
BAIDU ROLLS OUT PAID DRIVERLESS TAXI SERVICE IN BEIJING
Chinese tech giant Baidu rolled out its paid driverless taxi service last Sunday, making it the first company to commercialize autonomous driving operations in China.
GOOGLE SIGNS DEAL WITH WNBA TO HELP CHAMPION WOMEN'S SPORTS
The WNBA signed a multi-year deal with Google this week to be the presenting partner for the league’s playoffs, part of the technology giant’s efforts to help champion women’s sports.
60 YEARS SINCE 1ST AMERICAN IN SPACE: TOURISTS LINING UP
Sixty years after Alan Shepard became the first American in space, everyday people are on the verge of following in his cosmic footsteps.