'Impossible Became Possible' As Craft Flings Asteroid Rocks to Earth

Sep 25, 2023

An unmanned spacecraft flung a small can of space rocks to Earth's surface Sunday. The landing was met with cheers from mission team members that include a famous rock star. The rocks were scooped from an asteroid that may hold clues to the origins of life on this planet.

The capsule landed safely in a Utah desert Sunday morning. It contains about a small Starbucks cup worth of rocks taken from an asteroid the size of the Empire State Building. The capsule was whisked away to a lab so its contents can be analyzed.  

Experts called the mission a major breakthrough. It could unlock clues about how life on Earth began.  

“The impossible became possible,” declared NASA administrator Bill Nelson.

The 9 ounce sample was taken in late 2020 from the Bennu asteroid. It was 200 million miles away from Earth at the time.  

Asteroids are believed to contain material needed for life on Earth. The planet was hit often by rocks from outer space early in its development.  

Queen guitarist Brian May helped the mission. He is also an astrophysicist and co-author of a book about Bennu. He helped identify the region on Bennu where the samples would be taken.  

May praised the Osiris-Rex team. He said he was proud to be a member. 

Photo from Reuters.

Reflect: What do you find most exciting about space exploration, and why?

What was the author’s purpose for writing the story? (Common Core RI.5.6; RI.6.6)
a. to entertain readers with a fictional adventure
b. to educate readers about the history of space exploration
c. to persuade readers to become more involved in space exploration
d. to inform readers about a recent scientific achievement
For more formative assessments, visit thejuicelearning.com to start a free trial.

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