The all of the asteroid samples returned by spacecraft last autumn are finally tallied by NASA, the total exceeds the target for the return of rubble by double.

On Thursday, authorities announced that 4.29 ounces of dust and stones were gathered by the Osiris-Rex spacecraft from the asteroid Bennu. It is the largest cosmic haul ever from beyond the moon, measuring just over half a cup.

Because of jammed fasteners, NASA had to work longer than anticipated to pry open the sample container.

The first samples NASA has ever taken from an asteroid, these black, carbon-rich samples are kept in a unique curation lab at Houston’s Johnson Space Center.

Three years after removing the samples from the asteroid, Osiris-Rex returned them to Earth last September. Had the rocks not jammed the container’s lid after the grab, some samples would have floated away, reducing the haul for the $1 billion mission.

Now, the spacecraft is heading to another space rock, but it will only make a quick flyby and not stop to pick up samples.

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Topics #Asteroid Bennu #Asteroid samples #Johnson Space Center #NASA #Osiris-Rex spacecraft #space exploration