It’s seven years since NASA launched the OSIRIS-REx mission from Cape Canaveral in Florida, and in only a few weeks’ time all of the onerous work will culminate in a particular supply to Earth within the type of samples from asteroid Bennu collected by NASA’s spacecraft in 2020.
“We now have a primordial piece of our photo voltaic system headed again to Earth the place many generations of researchers can unlock its secrets and techniques,” Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s affiliate administrator for science, stated on the company’s web site.
To get the phrase out in regards to the September 24 return of the asteroid samples, NASA just lately posted a trailer (t0p) that includes footage from the mission, together with the unimaginable second when the spacecraft landed on Bennu because the rock sped via area at 63,000 mph, greater than 200 million miles from Earth.
When the spacecraft carrying the samples will get near Earth later this month, it would launch a capsule containing the samples gathered from Bennu. Within the closing stage of the epic journey, the capsule will then deploy a parachute and float all the way down to the Division of Protection’s Utah Take a look at and Coaching Vary, the place the OSIRIS-REx group will likely be ready to gather it.
A report on NASA’s web site described how mission group members just lately simulated the procedures that they’ll quickly be following for actual, together with navigating the spacecraft to Earth, instructing it to launch the capsule carrying the asteroid pattern, monitoring the capsule because it hurtles via the ambiance, retrieving it shortly from the bottom to stop contamination from the setting, and at last, transporting it by helicopter to a short lived clear room.
Nicola Fox, affiliate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, stated that pristine materials from asteroid Bennu “will assist make clear the formation of our photo voltaic system 4.5 billion years in the past, and even perhaps on how life on Earth started.”
Whereas returning an asteroid pattern will likely be a primary for NASA, the feat has been achieved twice earlier than by two Japanese missions that delivered samples from totally different asteroids in 2010 and 2020, respectively.