What NASA Found in the Canister Holding an Ancient Asteroid Sample

X (Twitter) // @NASASolarSystem

A NASA capsule that returned to Earth last September was very special because the probe was returning from a unique space mission. It was sent into space to make contact with an asteroid, collect material, and bring it home for analysis. Now, sometime after the bumpy but successful return of the probe, scientists have managed to open the container and check out the sample for the first time.

NASA Opened the Main OSIRIS-REx Container

It took scientists four months to open the canister safely and with precision. All the patience and waiting was worth it. While this main sample was just made available, the team at NASA had already found some material from the asteroid that had unintentionally arrived with the return capsule. It was already on display and examined by researchers. This time, the head of the canister named the Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism was unsealed.

The problem with the opening of the main capsule was due to two of the 35 fasteners keeping it closed malfunctioning and holding the lock. After some incredible work, the fasteners were dislodged, and the mission finally yielded fruit. The NASA team has transferred the asteroid dust into sample trays and will give some of it to scientists around the globe for analysis.

Organic Molecules Are in the Sample

The OSIRIS-REx mission sent a probe to the asteroid Bennu, a carbon-rich rock that goes around the Sun slightly beyond Earth’s orbit. The goal was to get to the asteroid, map its surface to locate a suitable location, and tap it to get material above ground and collect it with a special mechanism. The craft launched on September 8, 2016, arrived at the asteroid in December 2018, and did its job on October 20, 2020, before going for its three-year return trip.

X (Twitter) // @OSIRISREx

Bennu is an asteroid left from the time before the forming of the Earth, with an age of more than 4.5 billion years. Researchers hope the sample will give them a glimpse of the early solar system and tell them if asteroids introduced water and other ingredients for life to the young Earth. For now, the samples are stored in a special compartment where they are treated with a constant nitrogen flow to prevent the contamination of the sample with Earth’s atmosphere.

The Contents of the Material

To open the canister with the sample, NASA resorted to inventing two tools from surgical, non-magnetic stainless steel. While the total mass of the sample is still being determined, scientists had already collected 2.48 ounces of asteroid dust and rocks, which was more than the set goal of getting at least 2.12 ounces.

Studies of the material have shown it contains carbon, water, and organic molecules essential for life formation, among other undetermined parts. It may get mankind one step closer to solving Earth’s mysteries.

How Many Times Can You Fold a Piece of Paper in Half?

Folding a piece of paper might look easy, but it’s a puzzle with a twist. There’s this idea that a person can’t fold a sheet of paper more than seven times – like it’s some unbreakable rule. But then along came Britney Gallivan, proving that notion dead wrong.

A Paper Folding Record

A Paper Folding Record

In 2002, when she was just a junior in high school in Pomona, California, she started this incredible journey to redefine the limits of paper folding. Britney’s story begins with a little math class extra-credit challenge. They dared her to fold something 12 times. She tackled that challenge head-on and managed to fold a super thin sheet of gold foil a dozen times. But that was just the beginning. Her teacher threw down the gauntlet – this time with a new twist – take on the ultimate paper-folding challenge with a regular piece of paper.

Britney wasn’t about to back down. Despite everyone saying that a paper can’t be folded more than eight times, she took it up a notch. She dove into this determined quest, spending hours experimenting with different types of paper – newspapers, flat stuff, you name it. And her relentless determination paid off big time. She cracked the code on folding paper in directions that hadn’t even been tried before.

Britney Gallivan Is a Folding Champion

Britney Gallivan Is a Folding Champion

Britney didn’t stop there – she went all out! Armed with her math smarts, she crunched numbers like a pro and came up with equations that cracked the folding code. She showed how the length, thickness, and folding potential are all interconnected. And the result? She pulled off an insane feat – folding a tissue paper that was a jaw-dropping 4,000 feet long!

What’s even cooler is that Britney’s accomplishment wasn’t just about getting her name into record books, her work had way bigger implications. She dug into why others failed to fold paper beyond certain limits. Turns out, stacking, taping, cutting – all these shortcuts went against the core rules of paper folding. She was all about the authentic challenge – the real deal.

Britney Gallivan Is a Folding Champion

Sure, Britney set a new record, but she’s not one to brag. Britney knows the potential is out there for others to break her record. But here’s the kicker – they gotta stick to the real paper folding principles, no shortcuts allowed. And that’s a big part of what makes this whole challenge so amazing.

In the end, Britney’s journey into the world of paper folding is proof that even the most mundane tasks can lead to mind-blowing discoveries.