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NASA succeeds in first-ever attempt to collect asteroid samples Updated: 2020-10-22 13:26:11 KST

NASA made history Tuesday by succeeding in its first-ever attempt to collect samples from an asteroid.
The asteroid that NASA calls Bennu is more than 321 million kilometers from Earth.
According to NASA, its team confirmed the touchdown occurred on Tuesday evening, East Coast Time.

"It's just scientifically really exciting. It's the first time we've been - tried to touch the surface of another solar system object - the first time NASA has tried to do that in order to bring back a sample in a really long time. And the first time NASA has tried to do it on an asteroid."

NASA's minivan-sized spacecraft collected rocks from the asteroid by performing a 5-second "Touch-And-Go" technique.
After departing from the orbit and making a four hour long descent toward the asteroid,… the spacecraft extended its 3 meter long arms and trapped samples after shooting a burst of nitrogen gas.
The collection of samples happened within just 5 seconds after touchdown.

Scientists say the samples could provide important clues to explaining the origins of life,… as it existed even before Earth was formed.
NASA's mission to Bennu started in 2016, after the spacecraft was launched from the Kennedy Space Center.
The spacecraft is set to return to Earth in 2023.
Choi Min-jung, Arirang News.
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