This week’s science news has mostly come from outer space. NASA has been quite busy this week with the extraction mission to asteroid Bennu and is all set for its next trip to asteroid Psyche.
NASA astronaut Frank Rubio returned to Earth after spending a record 371 days in outer space.
Apart from news about space, a computer on Earth has found data which hints at a volcanic eruption being the real cause of the extinction of dinosaurs.
Here are the top science news of the week, in detail.
Following a seven-year voyage in space, on September 24, NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft finally returned to Earth after a successful mineral extraction mission on the asteroid, Bennu.
The #OSIRISREx spacecraft has released the capsule containing a piece of asteroid Bennu. The capsule will plummet through space for four hours, enter the atmosphere over California and land about 13 minutes later in Utah. https://t.co/lK5QmILjtj pic.twitter.com/gECoNC1sHU— NASA Solar System (@NASASolarSystem) September 24, 2023
NASA's OSIRIS-REx returned to Earth with a capsule filled with samples from asteroid Bennu, a 4.5-billion-year-old carbon-rich asteroid.
This mission marks a historic milestone, recovering the largest celestial treasure since NASA's Apollo Mission retrieved moon rocks almost 50 years ago.
Bennu, a near-Earth asteroid approximately one-third of a mile in diameter, poses a real threat of impacting our planet, potentially leading to widespread destruction and unleashing energy equivalent to roughly 22 atomic bombs, reported Earth.com.
Bennu has significant amounts of ancient carbon and organics, which is gold for scientists eager to understand the early solar system and origin of life on Earth. Check out 10 reasons why NASA chose this asteroid for #OSIRISREx’s momentous investigation: https://t.co/h33H3UfHEc pic.twitter.com/wI8lCPGkHj— NASA Astrobiology: Exploring Life in the Universe (@NASAAstrobio) September 12, 2023
According to experts at NASA, the near-Earth asteroid Bennu may intersect Earth's trajectory.
The OSIRIS-REx scientific team warns of a potential collision with Earth by September 2182. Bennu, the asteroid, has neared Earth thrice in 1999, 2005, and 2011, with another close approach slated for September 25, 2135.
Only a few days after the successful Bennu mission, NASA has announced an October-scheduled mission to the metal-rich asteroid Psyche.
American NASA astronaut Frank Rubio along with two Russian cosmonauts made a successful touchdown on Earth after being stuck in space for a total of 371 days. Rubio now holds the record for the longest US spaceflight after having to stay behind for more than a year.
The three passengers returned to Earth in a Soyuz capsule. The capsule landed in a distant region of Kazakhstan.
This capsule served as a substitute after their initial spacecraft suffered damage due to space debris, resulting in the loss of its cooling system while docked with the International Space Station.
As reported by Science, researchers have found data through a computer analysis that it was actually volcanism, and not an asteroid, that led to the extinction of dinosaurs.
The outcome of this computational analysis gave several readings that hinted that the Deccan Traps eruptions, lasting about a million years, were solely responsible for the extinction event due to massive gas bursts.
These eruptions expelled enormous volumes of gas-laden lava over what is currently Western India.