Black Dust and Debris: NASA Scientists Remove OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sample Canister Lid

OSIRIS-REx Sample Canister Lid Removed

Lockheed Martin Recovery Specialists Levi Hanish and Michael Kaye remove the lid of the sample return canister. Credit: NASA/Robert Markowiz

NASA found debris on the OSIRIS-REx canister, which will be carefully disassembled at the Johnson Space Center. The world awaits the sample’s reveal in a live broadcast on October 11.

NASA scientists found black dust and debris on the avionics deck of the OSIRIS-REx science canister when the initial lid was removed today. The canister from the OSIRIS-REx sample return capsule was delivered to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston on September 25 after landing in the Utah desert on September 24.

Johnson houses the world’s largest collection of astromaterials, and curation experts there will perform the intricate disassembly of the Touch and Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) to get down to the bulk sample within. These operations are happening in a new laboratory designed specifically for the OSIRIS-REx mission. The aluminum lid was removed inside a glovebox designed to enable working with the large piece of hardware.

When the TAGSAM is separated from the canister, it will be inserted in a sealed transfer container to preserve a nitrogen environment for up to about two hours. This container allows enough time for the team to insert the TAGSAM into another unique glovebox. Ultimately, this speeds up the disassembly process. There is a very high level of focus from the team — the sample will be revealed with an amazing amount of precision to accommodate delicate hardware removal so as not to come into contact with the sample inside.

With an array of team members on deck, scientists and engineers at Johnson will work together to complete the disassembly process and reveal the sample to the world in a special live broadcast event on October 11.

1 Comment on "Black Dust and Debris: NASA Scientists Remove OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sample Canister Lid"

  1. “The world awaits the sample’s REVEAL …”

    Was this written by someone who grew up at a time when phone text messages were limited in the number of characters allowed? This is the 21st century!

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