NASA spacecraft that recently collected rock asteroid We’ve captured far more material than expected. The US space agency Sample Too large the collector’s container door is blocked.
Osiris-Rex spacecraft successfully asteroid The explorer’s robotic arm touched the asteroid Bennu for a few seconds to collect dust and rock samples. Bennu is about 320 million kilometers from Earth.
The sample was then trapped in a device called a collection head. NASA found a blocked door on the device in an image received from the team controlling the spacecraft. The blockage caused some asteroid material to escape back into space.
Because of this, NASA scientists decided to advance the schedule to complete the next phase of the work. This includes storing or storing the collection head in a safe place. capsule Inside the ship.
“time is Essential“Thomas Zurbuchen told reporters about the plan change. He is NASA’s Department of Science Manager.
Storing samples is carried out in a series of steps. At the end of each stage, the spacecraft sends information and images back to Earth. Other members of the team make sure the process goes right.
The spacecraft is so far away that it takes about 18 minutes for the signal to reach Earth. All communication from the ground controller requires the same time to reach Osiris-Rex. Due to this, the storage process was expected to take several days.
Scientists say that this operation can weigh up to 400 grams Asteroid material. That’s a lot more than the 60 grams that NASA wants Osiris-Rex to collect.
But mission leaders say they will not know exactly how much material is inside until the sample capsule returns to Earth. The team planned to go through the process of measuring the samples. However, the plan was canceled because NASA said more material could be spilled.
“I think we will have to wait until we get home. Accurately Osiris-Rex chief investigator Dante Laureta told reporters. “As you can imagine, it is difficult. …But the good news is that we see a lot of material.”
Team members considered another collection attempt. However, due to the breach problem, NASA made a decision against the plan. “Honestly, we couldn’t have done a better collection experiment,” Lauretta said.
Osiris-Rex is expected to return to Earth in March 2021, which will take two and a half years and is scheduled for the arrival of the spacecraft in 2023.
This mission was NASA’s first asteroid collection operation. Japan is the only other country Successfully captured Such a sample.
Asteroids are among the remaining material from the formation of the solar system about 4.5 billion years ago. NASA decided to collect samples from Bennu because it believes that carbon-rich materials hold it. preservation The building blocks of our solar system.
Scientists say that asteroid samples can help us better understand how planets formed and how life began on Earth.
My name is Bryan Lynn.
Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English based on reports from The Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, and NASA. Ashley Thompson was the editor.
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Words of this story
asteroid – N. An object made of rock and metal orbiting the sun, but smaller than a planet.
Sample – N. A small amount of information about what was brought
capsule – yen. Part of a spaceship that carries people
Essential – phr. vital
Accurately – Advance. That’s it
Preserve -V. Keep it the same or prevent it from breaking
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