NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft on Monday started its lengthy journey again to Earth after gathering a pattern from the asteroid Bennu.
The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer was NASA’s first spacecraft to go to an asteroid close to Earth to deliver again a sampling for scientists.
The spacecraft reached asteroid Bennue in 2018 and spent two years flying close to and round it, earlier than gathering rubble from the floor final fall. NASA stated the mission will assist unlock the secrets and techniques of our photo voltaic system.
Early final month, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft made one ultimate flyby of asteroid Bennu to take images of the disturbance left by October’s pattern assortment. It will return to Earth with its treasured 2-pound pattern load on Sept. 24, 2023.
It would be the largest cosmic haul for the US for the reason that Apollo moon rocks. While NASA has returned comet mud and photo voltaic wind samples, that is the primary time it’s gone after items of an asteroid. Japan has achieved it twice however in tiny quantities.
Osiris-Rex was already almost 200 miles from the solar-orbiting Bennu when it fired its foremost engines Monday afternoon for a quick, clear get-away.
NASA says that the spacecraft’s thrusters should change its velocity by 595 miles per hour for OSIRIS-REx’s path to intersect Earth and obtain a pattern return from the Utah Test and Training Range.
The spacecraft’s return dwelling won’t be linear, in line with NASA. The OSIRIS-REX will circle the solar twice, masking roughly 1.4 billion miles to meet up with Earth.
The solar-orbiting, carbon-rich asteroid is 182 million miles from Earth. By learning items of it, scientists hope to higher perceive how our photo voltaic system’s planets shaped and the way folks ought to react if an asteroid endangers Earth.
The treasured samples will likely be housed at a brand new lab below development at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, already dwelling to a whole bunch of kilos of lunar materials collected by the 12 Apollo moonwalkers from 1969 to 1972.
Scientists initially thought the spacecraft saved 2 kilos of asteroid rubble, however extra not too long ago revised their estimate downward. They gained’t know for sure how a lot is on board till the capsule is opened after landing.