A NASA spacecraft returned to Earth on Sunday after a years-long mission to a nearby asteroid.
A capsule containing pieces from the near-Earth asteroid Bennu separated from the spacecraft known as the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification and Security-Regolith Explorer, or the OSIRIS-REx, and entered Earth's atmosphere.
The capsule parachuted into the Utah Test and Training Range in Utah's West Desert.
— NASA Solar System (@NASASolarSystem) September 24, 2023
Scientists recovered the sample from the landing, and the sample will be sent to the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
What was OSIRIS-REx doing on Bennu?
The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft was launched Sept. 8, 2016, and traveled to the near-Earth asteroid Bennu, formerly named 1999 RQ36. On Oct. 20, 2020, the spacecraft landed on Bennu, using its robotic arm to collect a sample of rocks and dust from space.
According to NASA, the mission was to help scientists investigate "how planets formed and how life began, as well as improve our understanding of asteroids that could impact Earth."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: OSIRIS-REx returned to Earth from Bennu: Watch NASA livestream