A spacecraft carrying pristine asteroid samples and 4,000 megabytes of knowledge is about to fly house from the asteroid Bennu.
The spacecraft, NASA’s Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security – Regolith Explorer, or OSIRIS-REx, hasn’t departed the asteroid simply but. But the craft is starting its farewell tour, which can deliver the spacecraft on a journey again to Earth. The OSIRIS-REx mission will hang around across the 1,640-foot-wide (500 meters) Bennu until May 10, 2021 earlier than touring roughly 185 million miles (298 million kilometers) again in direction of Earth and ship its asteroid pattern to scientists on Sept. 24, 2023.
During its most up-to-date and ultimate up-close method of Bennu, OSIRIS-REx imaged the asteroid for five.9 hours, which is a couple of full rotation of the asteroid. The spacecraft flew inside 2.1 miles (3.5 kilometers) of Bennu’s floor, according to a recent statement from NASA. This was the closest OSIRIS-REx had been since pattern assortment, and the flyby maneuver ended round 6 a.m. EDT (10 a.m. GMT) on April 7.
The pebbles and bits that OSIRIS-REx collected on Bennu throughout its landing on the asteroid’s floor in October 2020 will assist scientists be taught concerning the asteroid’s composition, however the impact that the retrieval needed to Bennu’s floor — which concerned touching down onto the rock for seconds and blowing nitrogen gas onto the asteroid’s surface to kick up materials — could itself be useful to scientists, too. OSRIS-REx’s current ultimate flyby of Bennu will assist the crew learn the way the spacecraft modified the floor of Bennu when it collected the samples.
“By surveying the distribution of the excavated material around the… site, we will learn more about the nature of the surface and subsurface materials along with the mechanical properties of the asteroid,” Dr. Dante Lauretta, principal investigator for OSIRIS-REx on the University of Arizona, mentioned within the NASA assertion.
It will take a minimum of till April 13 for the spacecraft’s information and footage from this ultimate flyby to succeed in the mission crew, in line with NASA. Bennu’s distance from Earth, coupled with the necessity to share the Deep Space Network antennas with different area missions like Voyager and Perseverance, implies that OSIRIS-REx will take a number of days to obtain all of the flyby information.
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