Good morning US readers and good afternoon UK readers,
A high-anticipated asteroid sample from Nasa’s seven-year Osiris-Rex mission is set to enter Earth’s atmosphere today.
Earlier this morning, at 6:42 ET/11:42 BST, the Osiris-Rex spacecraft released a capsule containing samples of rubble and dust it collected from the near-Earth asteroid Bennu.
That capsule is now hurtling towards Earth at around 27,650 miles per hour.
About 20 minutes after releasing the capsule, the spacecraft itself turned tail and has blasted away from Earth to begin a new mission to explore another asteroid, known as Apophis, which it will take around six years to reach.
For now, we wait with baited breath for the Bennu samples to reach Earth, with touchdown expected around 10:55 a.m ET/15:55 BST.
The sample from Bennu “acts as a time capsule from the earliest days of our solar system and will help us answer big questions about the origins of life and the nature of asteroids,” said Nasa.
Stay tuned as we bring you the latest updates on this historic return.