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Amount Collected

After months of struggling, NASA scientists have finally revealed the amount of dust and rock their spacecraft brought back from asteroid Bennu. Despite earlier estimates of about a cup, the total weight is actually 4.29 ounces, which is about half a cup. This is still the largest asteroid sample ever collected in space and double the mission’s goal.


The sample from Bennu is incredibly valuable because it could contain the chemical origins of life. The asteroid is also a potential threat to Earth, so studying it could help us prepare for any future deflection efforts.

Comparison to Other Missions

NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex mission is the first U.S. mission to retrieve an asteroid sample. Japan’s JAXA has previously collected samples from asteroids Itokawa and Ryugu, but the OSIRIS-Rex mission appears to have been more successful in grabbing material.

Distribution of Samples

The Bennu sample will be divided and distributed to scientists around the world. JAXA will receive about 0.5% of the contents, while NASA will keep at least 70% at Johnson Space Center in Houston for preservation.