Sample of 'potentially hazardous' asteroid Bennu, which may contain the seeds of life, arrives in UK for analysis

Dec 2, 2023
I have a question regarding the sample recently collected. I read a previous article when the probe and samples had first arrived and the trouble that the team were having with opening the collection chamber. In the pictures provided, I seen how the work was being performed in a "glove-bag" type of enclosure, (or rather, a more solid type of enclosure with glove ports) and I am well acquainted with these working conditions as I currently use very similar enclosures when working with radioactive equipment, or the potential contamination thereof.
So my question is thus....has not the sample been contaminated or otherwise compromised when exposed to air, or for that matter, upon re-entry into our atmosphere? If there were a way to collect the sample in an air-tight enclosure, and to re-open it here within a vacuum under the same extreme conditions of temperature and pressure, would there be any difference in the make-up of the materials found?
Does heat from re-entry or the presence of moisture or other gaseous particulates within our atmosphere possibly change the chemical characteristics of the sample?
  • Like
Reactions: JAXX1