Queen guitarist Brian May played a huge role in NASA mission to collect asteroid sample

Published: Sep. 27, 2023 at 7:49 PM CDT
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(Gray News) – Brian May is a rock ‘n’ roll legend and now also an accomplished scientist who is being credited with helping bring home NASA’s first asteroid sample.

The asteroid sample collected by NASA was taken from a giant space rock that has the potential to collide with the earth sometime in the future.

The sample was obtained by OSIRIS-REx spacecraft from the near-Earth asteroid Bennu and flown back into the earth’s orbit Sunday, according to CNN.

OSIRIS-REx, which stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer, left the planet in 2016 and started to orbit Bennu in 2018. It collected the sample in 2020 and started its nearly 4 billion-mile journey back to Earth in May 2021.

In a clip aired on NASA TV Sunday, Queen guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May told viewers he was “immensely proud” to have contributed to such a feat.

May reportedly played an important role in the mission. He created stereoscopic images from the spacecraft’s data that allowed the mission leader and his team to find a site safe enough to land and collect a sample.

Despite his contribution, May was unable to attend the historic event as the asteroid sample was received by NASA.

“I’m rehearsing for a Queen tour but my heart stays with you as this precious sample is recovered,” he said.