Sir Brian May ‘immensely proud’ to be part of Osiris-Rex asteroid test team | Ents & Arts News

Sir Brian May has said he is “immensely proud” to be part of the team that successfully collected NASA’s first asteroid samples from deep space.

A capsule containing about 250g of rock and dust collected from asteroid Bennu landed in the Utah desert near Salt Lake City on Sunday.

Earlier in the day, the Osiris-Rex spacecraft released the test capsule about 63,000 miles out during a flyby of Earth.

Queen guitarist and astrophysicist Sir Brian aided the mission by helping to identify where Osiris-Rex could obtain a sample from the asteroid.

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The capsule contained about 250 g of rock and dust collected from the asteroid

In a support message shown on NASA TV, Sir Brian said: “Hey Nasa people, space fans, asteroid lovers, this is Brian May of Queen, but I’m also immensely proud to be a team member of Osiris-Rex.

“I can’t be with you today, I wish I could, I’m rehearsing for a Queen tour, but my heart is with you as this precious specimen is restored.

“Good test day and congratulations to everyone who worked so incredibly hard on this mission.”

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The rocker especially praised his “dear friend” Dante Lauretta, with whom he created the book Bennu 3-D: Anatomy of an Asteroid with, which is a 3D atlas of the asteroid.

The sample is the US space agency’s first mission to collect a sample from an asteroid and the first by any agency since 2020.

This image taken from video provided by NASA TV shows the capsule released by the Osiris-Rex spacecraft lying on the surface after landing on Earth, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023. (NASA TV via AP)
This image shows the capsule released by the Osiris-Rex spacecraft lying on the surface after landing on Earth (NASA TV via AP)

A quarter of the sample will be given to a group of more than 200 people from 38 globally distributed institutions, including a team of researchers from the University of Manchester and the Natural History Museum.

Asteroid Bennu is a 4.5-billion-year-old remnant of our early solar system, and scientists believe it could help shed light on how planets formed and evolved.

Experts say the carbon-rich, near-Earth asteroid serves as a time capsule from the earliest history of the solar system.

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