Space Center Houston, the official visitor center to NASA Johnson Space Center, has a new exhibit that's 4.5 billion years old.
This sample of a 4.5 billion-year-old asteroid is meant to help scientists understand the formation of the planets. (Courtesy Aaron Rodriguez)
What you need to know

A sample of asteroid "Bennu" is the center of the OSIRIS-REx display in the venue's main plaza, and opened to the public on March 1.

Short for NASA's Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification and Security-Regolith Explorer spacecraft, the OSIRIS-REx was a seven-year-long mission to the asteroid. These collected samples are meant to help tell scientists how the planets were formed and improve their understanding of asteroids that could impact Earth, according to a March 1 news release.

Quote of note

William T. Harris, president and CEO of Space Center Houston, said the spacecraft's mission was to gather valuable insights into the composition and history of the solar system, in a statement.

“What makes this mission even more remarkable is the unprecedented amount of material that OSIRIS-REx has captured," Harris said in the release. "The spacecraft exceeded all expectations, collecting an abundance of samples that will serve as a scientific treasure for researchers and astronomers. We are extremely grateful to be able to share this piece of cosmic history with the world.”
The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft took a seven-year mission to retrieve samples of asteroid Bennu, and continues on to collect more. (Courtesy Aaron Rodriguez)
What else?

Per the release, Space Center Houston is one of only three cultural institutions in the U.S. with a cosmic relic such as asteroid Bennu.

Spacer Center Houston has more than 400 other space-related artifacts and educational experiences.