OSIRIS REx Asteroid Sample Return lid opening at Building 31 Astromaterials Curation Facility. Photo date: Sept. 26, 2023. Location: Bldg. 31 - OSIRIS REx Thin Section Lab.
NASA scientists have already found evidence of essential elements like carbon in the tiny rocks exposed outside the main sample container, which holds a trove of larger fragments. These early samples, which are smaller than a grain of rice, also contain water-rich minerals. Researchers speculate that similar water-containing asteroids bombarded Earth billions of years ago, providing the water that eventually formed the planet’s first oceans.