The latest in Ph-word: October ’23

A calm month in terms of physics, October’s only news come down from space. Literally.

Last month NASA’s Osirix-Rex mission successfully returned a capsule filled with soil grabbed from asteroid Bennu. Now, its scientists are going through an interesting phase, similar to when the online shop sends you extra stuff by mistake and when they realize they just tell you that you can keep it. In other words, Osiris-Rex collected too much soil by mistake, and scientists are busy partying with analyzing the dirt overflowing from the special container, before they even open the container itself.

Visual storytelling aid by our friend, Craiyon.

And when we say partying: they have already found water and molecules containing carbon. This (i) supports the theory that water, and maybe even the first molecules that would later grow into life, came to Earth’s surface by asteroid collisions, (ii) is pretty cool on its own right.

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