Capsule of cosmic mud ‘holds secret to human life’ – it is an issue for boffins
Space boffins face a rocket up their ass-teroids after admitting they can’t open a capsule of cosmic mud holding the key to how human life started as a result of they don’t have the correct instruments.
After a seven-year mission the pod containing samples from the 4.5billion-year-old Bennu asteroid efficiently returned to Earth. Scientists hope particles remotely retrieved from the house rock’s floor in a fragile operation involving Queen guitarist Brian May – an astrophysicist – might reveal the key to how life began.
It may yield very important data for boffins engaged on deterrents ought to the Solar System’s “most dangerous asteroid” all of the sudden begin heading in direction of Earth on its fly-by in 2182. NASA chiefs have collected 70.3 grams of asteroid mud from the capsule.
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But it has now emerged they can’t get to extra stashed within the pod’s head as a result of the lid is not going to come off. Experts stated as much as 180g of fabric pre-dating the start of Earth is caught inside.
NASA admitted in a weblog put up on its web site “two of the 35 fasteners” on the capsule “could not be removed with the current tools approved for use.” In order to protect the “samples’s pristine state for subsequent scientific analysis” the asteroid mud must be eliminated through a “specialised glovebox under a flow of nitrogen to keep it from being exposed to Earth’s atmosphere.”
“The tools for any proposed solution to extract the remaining material from the head must be able to fit inside the glovebox and not compromise the scientific integrity of the collection and any procedures must be consistent with the clean room’s standards,” NASA stated. “The team has been working to develop and implement new approaches to extract the material inside the head while continuing to keep the sample safe and pristine.”
Unless boffins at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, can discover a new spanner the correct measurement to undo the cussed fasteners the remaining samples may very well be misplaced.
The capsule containing the asteroid samples touched down within the West Desert within the US state of Utah final month after being launched on a flyby of the Earth from 63,000 miles out by the OSIRIX-REx spacecraft.
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