NASA’s Osiris-REx mission introduced again asteroid samples untainted by Earth’s environment.
AILSA CHANG, HOST:
Effectively, I suppose we will say mission completed. NASA despatched Osiris-REx into house to land on an asteroid and return with a pattern of it. A container filled with asteroid stuff landed in Utah yesterday. And right here to inform us extra about it’s Jessica Barnes, a co-investigator on the Osiris-REx mission and a analysis crew lead. Welcome.
JESSICA BARNES: Thanks a lot. It is a pleasure to be right here.
CHANG: It is a pleasure to have you ever. OK. So how did it really feel to see Osiris-REx land?
BARNES: Oh, aid, pleasure. I am nonetheless on cloud 9. I can not fairly imagine that it is occurred, that we’re right here and hold having to pinch myself. It’s totally thrilling for the entire crew.
CHANG: All proper. So had been there any issues on reentry?
BARNES: I imply, there are all the time issues, issues that – sure marks that we’ve to hit on level to get us from house to Earth’s floor. For me, the terrifying second – nicely, there have been two. One was…
BARNES: …Coming by means of the environment. It will get extremely popular. There’s loads of friction. And so, you understand, the pattern return capsule has to face up to that for it to achieve the floor. And it did. In order that was nice. After which the ultimate, for me, type of aid second was not it really touchdown on the floor, it was the parachute opening ‘trigger as soon as that predominant parachute opened, we knew that the capsule was going to land safely.
CHANG: Wow. So clarify to us why this explicit asteroid is so particular scientifically.
BARNES: Effectively, there are various causes. So Bennu is one among thousands and thousands of asteroids that we all know of. It is the correct measurement to be orbited by a spacecraft like Osiris-REx and huge sufficient, however not too large, that we may contact the floor and again away safely. However I believe it is also necessary to know that Bennu has a nonzero likelihood of impacting Earth. It is one among these near-Earth asteroids that we time period a hazardous asteroid as a result of sometime sooner or later it may affect Earth. Not when any of us shall be round to see it. If it occurs, it might be in a few hundred years’ time.
CHANG: Oh. That is not that lengthy from now, really.
BARNES: However that is why we need to exit and research these near-Earth asteroids, in order that we will improve our planetary protection capabilities.
CHANG: Yeah, planetary protection.
BARNES: (Laughter) Yeah.
CHANG: You say that nonironically. It is a actual factor. Yeah.
BARNES: No, precisely. NASA’s – NASA and different house companies are very curious about planetary protection.
CHANG: OK. What’s the most burning query that I suppose all of us have that our planet has taking a look at these contents?
BARNES: Oh, I believe that reply may differ relying on which science crew member you are speaking to. However because you’re speaking to me…
BARNES: …The one I am most curious about is – loads of my analysis focuses on understanding the place water in our photo voltaic system got here from, the way it was distributed early on, how Earth grew to become liveable. And so for me, it will be taking a look at what its water content material and isotopic composition is and the way that compares to what we learn about meteorites. Have been objects like Bennu delivering water to the inside photo voltaic system and probably Earth when Earth was forming and evolving very early on?
CHANG: So cool. That’s Jessica Barnes, an assistant professor on the College of Arizona and co-investigator of NASA’s Osiris-REx mission. Thanks a lot for becoming a member of us immediately.
BARNES: Thanks very a lot for having me.
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