Scientists are now inspecting snagged, bagged and tagged bits and pieces from asteroid Bennu, the cosmic mother lode delivered by NASA's Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification and Security — Regolith Explorer mission.

Known in acronymic astro-speak as OSIRIS-REx, that seven-year-long voyage brought home the goods via a sample return canister that came to full stop on Sept. 24, 2023, parachuting into a remote stretch of the Department of Defense's Utah Test and Training Range. Those specimens from afar are believed to contain the leftovers from the formation of the solar system 4.5 billion years ago. caught up with two leading scientists now engaged in extracting what those darkish asteroid particles are illuminating, sorting out how these materials exported from Bennu came to be. But also what insights they hold for the origin of the worlds within our solar system, including Earth.

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