NASA’s 4.5-bln-year-old Bennu asteroid sample has carbon and water

LOS ANGELES, Oct 12: Initial studies of the 4.5-billion-year-old asteroid Bennu sample collected in space and brought to Earth by NASA show evidence of high-carbon content and water, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said on Wednesday.

The two elements together could indicate that the building blocks of life on Earth may be found in these rocks, according to NASA, said Xinhua.

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, the first US mission to collect a sample from an asteroid, returned Bennu asteroid sample to Earth on Sept 24.

“The OSIRIS-REx sample is the biggest carbon-rich asteroid sample ever delivered to Earth and will help scientists investigate the origins of life on our own planet for generations to come,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

“Almost everything we do at NASA seeks to answer questions about who we are and where we come from. NASA missions like OSIRIS-REx will improve our understanding of asteroids that could threaten Earth while giving us a glimpse into what lies beyond. The sample has made it back to Earth, but there is still so much science to come — science like we’ve never seen before,” he said.