NASA's OSIRIS-REx Mission Faces a Twist: Overcoming Stubborn Bolts and Jar-Like Challenges

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Mission Faces a Twist: Overcoming Stubborn Bolts and Jar-Like Challenges

You’d think NASA engineers would breeze through basic handy tasks like opening jars. But when faced with stubborn bolts on the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, even they struggled!

After the probe gathered dusty samples from asteroid Bennu, technicians hit roadblocks dismantling the collection arm. Out of 35 fasteners, two refused to budge. So NASA specialists designed custom stainless steel tools to carefully pry those suckers loose.

Talk about mundane problems plaguing an epic space mission! But the team prevailed through sheer persistence and innovation. As NASA official Eileen Stansbery put it: “That’s remarkable!”

Their tireless tinkering paid off. This week NASA revealed mind-blowing images of Bennu material retrieved by OSIRIS-REx before it winged off towards new frontiers. Pebbles, particles, even hints of the asteroid’s ancient secrets now sit sealed in a Houston lab.

Scientists are drooling over this cosmic time capsule, which formed over 4.5 billion years ago! The preserved rocks and minerals will offer unmatched insights into how planets congealed and water arrived on Earth long ago.

But more grueling work awaits the collection team. They’ll soon pick apart the remaining haul, weighing and documenting every grain down to the gram. Talk aboutattention to detail!

In fact, OSIRUS-REx gathered over 70 grams of asteroid bits—handily beating the 60-gram target. Before doling samples out to global researchers, the squad will catalog the space booty this year.

Yes, NASA usually awes us with scenes of cosmic grandeur and high-tech gear. But sometimes even rocket scientists grapple with everyday challenges like stubborn lids! Just goes to show ingenuity takes many forms – whether you’re exploring asteroids or opening pickle jars.