UCF physics professors play key role in NASA’s mission to get an asteroid sample from space

Inside a small canister 200 million miles from Earth is something that University of Central Florida physics professors Humberto Campins and Kerri Donaldson Hanna have only dreamed of: a sample of an asteroid.

NASA had never collected one until Oct. 20, when its OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, four years after launching from Cape Canaveral, at last made contact with the asteroid Bennu and with a quick grab of its robotic arm managed to scoop up a clawful of rocks and pebbles. Only Japan had ever sampled an asteroid before, when its Hayabusa2 spacecraft visited asteroid Ryugu in 2018. Read more here.