Bits of Bennu asteroid to arrive at UBC

September 29, 2023

On September 24, 2023, samples collected from the Bennu asteroid successfully touched down in the Utah Test and Training Range—a milestone for NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission and partners at the Canadian Space Agency. UBC has already made major contributions to the mission – a team including UBC planetary scientist Dr. Catherine Johnston used data from the Canadian-designed OSIRIS-REx laser altimeter to help select a safe sampling site. 

Now, after evaluation, a portion of that material—potentially dating back to the birth of the solar system roughly 4.5 billion years ago—will be delivered to UBC’s Pacific Centre for Isotopic and Geochemical Research (PCIGR) for analysis. Dr. Dominique Weis, director of the facility, discusses the challenges of providing high-precision, low-level isotopic and geochemical analysis of rock and dust samples from what’s been described as a rubble pile of an asteroid.

Read the full UBC Science story here:

See Dr. Weis discuss the Bennu project here:

Related stories on Bennu's samples to Earth mentioning PCIGR:


Vancouver Sun (by Canadian Press; July 29, 2023): 'Perfectly excited': Canadian scientists await first look at bits from asteroid Bennu


The Globe and Mail (September 24, 2023): Asteroid mission touches down bearing fragments of the heavens for science labs on Earth


Radio-Canada (September 24, 2023): Le retour des énchantillons de l'astéroïde Bennu


Calgary Herald (September 26, 2023): It's about exploration': University of Calgary professor to study NASA asteroid sample


The Globe and Mail (September 29, 2023): First hint of asteroid samples promises 'lifetime of work' for Canadian scientists


CBC Radio (aired October 3, 2023): How UBC will study samples of asteroid Bennu


CBC News (October 3, 2023): A tiny sample from a multi-billion-year-old asteroid could hold clues to the early solar system, says scientist


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