“Everything went well, but we don’t know exactly what happened yet.” Patrick Michel, CNRS research director at the Lagrange laboratory of the Observatory of the Côte d’Azur, thus summarizes in a formula the attempt to collect samples carried out Tuesday evening by the Osiris-Rex mission of NASA, in which he participates . The probe approached until it touched the surface of the asteroid Bennu around which it has been circling since the end of 2018 for a few seconds. Imagine a six-meter-wide hummingbird balanced on the edge of a 500-meter coal mountain from above, and you will get a little idea of the scene that took place more than 300 million kilometers from Earth that night.
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At the end of the articulated “trunk” of this metal bird, a cylinder the size of a plate resembling an autonomous robotic vacuum cleaner. With the difference that he does not aspire