NASA’s Osiris-Rex about to land on the asteroid Bennu: The following happens:

NASA's Osiris-Rex about to land on the asteroid Bennu: The following happens:

Artist’s concept of NASA’s Osiris-Rex spacecraft collecting samples from the asteroid Bennu.

NASA / Goddard / University of Arizona

NASA’s Osiris-Rex spacecraft Next week, we will briefly touch a large asteroid, catch rocks and dust from its surface, and send it back to Earth for research. The event is NASA’s first major It is a potential benefit for science, space exploration, and an understanding of the solar system.

Asteroid’s Touch and Go (TAG) sample collection 101955 Bennu It will be down on Tuesday, October 20th at around 3:12pm Pacific Time. NASA broadcasts TAG maneuvers live on NASA TV Agency website It starts at 2pm on Tuesday. Here’s everything you need to know about how Osiris-Rex, Bennu, and NASA plan an asteroid pickpocket.

When did the mission begin?

Osiris-Rex as a concept has been around since at least in 2004 when a team of astronomers first proposed the idea to NASA. After more than 10 years of development, the spacecraft Released September 8, 2016 at Cape Canaveral, Florida, Atop the United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing. The ship spent 26 months cruising to Benu, which officially arrived on December 3, 2018.

Since then, the mission team has been orbiting the diamond-shaped space rock, inspecting and mapping its surface for nearly two years, selecting the best sampling point. Rehearsals have begun in recent months ahead of upcoming sample collection attempts, and now the team says they are ready to play TAG with Bennu.


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Why Bennu

Bennu is a “debris pile” asteroid called an asteroid. This means that it was formed in the deep cosmic past when gravity slowly combined the remnants of an ancient collision. The result was a top-shaped body about a third of a mile (500 meters) in diameter, and a surface scattered with large rocks and rocks.

Bennu is thought to be a window into the solar system’s past. It is a clean, carbon-rich body that contains the components of planets and life. Some of these resources, such as water and metals, may be worth mining for use in Earth or space exploration at some point in the future.

Asteroids have another trait that makes them particularly interesting to scientists and humans in general. It has the potential to affect Earth in the distant future. Above NASA’s List of Impact Risks, Bennu was in second place. Current data show dozens of potential impacts in the last quarter of the 22nd century. However, they all have only a few minutes of chance to really succeed.

How does TAG work?

For anyone who has ever met robots or participated in robotics competitions, the Osiris-Rex mission seems to be the ultimate pinnacle of a young robot engineer’s dream. The touch-and-go sampling procedure is a complex and critical task that has been building key peak moments over the years. If successful, it will play an important role in history and the future of the universe.

The basic plan is that Osiris-Rex Visiting site called Nightingale. A van-sized spacecraft will have to negotiate a building-sized rock around the landing pad to land in a relatively clean space with only a few parking spaces. However, the robotic sampling arm will be the only part the Osiris-Rex can actually put down on the surface. One of the three pressurized nitrogen vessels can be fired to stir up dust and small rock samples, then stick them to the arm’s collector head for safe storage and return to Earth.

It takes roughly 4 hours for the asteroid to make one full turn down to the Bennu surface. After this slow approach, the actual TAG sample collection procedure lasts less than 16 seconds.

TAG preparation did not go as planned. Mission organizers initially hoped that Bennu’s surface would have many potential landing points, mostly covered with a finer material comparable to sand or gravel. Bennu’s surface is very sturdy with no real welcome landing points.

After reevaluating the mission over the past two years, the team decided to try “stitching the needle” through the Nightingale’s rock-filled landscape and several other backup sample sites. It is possible that the surface turns out to be too rocky to get a good sample. In this case, the team can choose to try again on another site. Osiris-Rex is equipped with three nitrogen canisters that fire and destroy surfaces. This means the team makes up to 3 attempts to collect samples.

And what?

Immediately after collecting the sample, Osiris-Rex fires a thruster to retreat from Bennu. The spacecraft will continue to roam above Bennu for the remainder of 2020, before finally performing a departing maneuver next year and embarking on the journey back to Earth for two years.

On September 24, 2023, Osiris-Rex will land in the Utah desert to dispose of sample return capsules that will be recovered for research.

Haven’t you done it before?

Yes. Japan’s Hayabusa spacecraft has successfully returned small particles of an asteroid. 25143 Itokawa Its successor, Hayabusa-2, successfully In 2019, a special copper bullet was fired on a large asteroid Ryugu. Some of the fragments were recovered. This sample is currently returning to Earth.

How can I see it?

follow NASA’s live streaming, Starts at 2pm on Tuesday. You can also follow Osiris-Rex Twitter Feed To get the latest updates.

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