The collection chamber of the machine can only hold so much, after all. The OSIRIS-REx’s collection chamber can no longer close all the way, leading to some of the material it collected from asteroid Bennu to float away into space. MIT Technology Review explains the reason why the spacecraft collected too much:
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Over the last few days, the onboard cameras revealed that the collection chamber was losing particles that were floating into space. “A substantial amount of the sample is seen floating away,” mission lead Dante Lauretta said Friday. As it turned out, the sample collection attempt picked up too much material—possibly up to two kilograms, the upper limit of what OSIRIS-REx was designed to collect. About 400 grams seems visible from the cameras. The collection lid has failed to close properly and remains wedged open by pieces that are up to three centimeters in size, creating a centimeter-wide gap for material to escape.
Image via MIT Technology Review