US spacecraft touches asteroid surface for rare rubble grab
October 21, 2020
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A NASA spacecraft descended to an asteroid Tuesday and, dodging boulders the size of buildings, momentarily touched the surface to collect a handful of cosmic rubble for return to Earth.
It was a first for the United States — only Japan has scored asteroid samples.
"Touchdown declared," a flight controller announced to cheers and applause. "Sampling is in progress."
Confirmation came from the Osiris-Rex spacecraft as it made contact with the surface of the asteroid Bennu more than 200 million miles away. But it could be a week before scientists know how much,...