NASA spacecraft to land on Bennu asteroid

Share

First images of the asteroid from the spacecraft's perspective have appeared as it got closer and closer. Every six years, Bennu passes within 185,911 miles of Earth.

The spacecraft will nominally collect a sample on 4 July 2020 and return it to Earth in 2023. McMahon explained that as OSIRIS-REx brushes past Bennu this time, the asteroid will exert a minute gravitational pull on the spacecraft. To that end, the College of Optical Sciences, which helped design some of OSIRIS-REx's cameras in conjunction with the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory and Steward Observatory, recently received a $20 million endowment. Bennu orbits the sun between the Earth and Mars.

"This does look a challenging surface", said Lauretta, gesturing to a blown-up image of Bennu.

The Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) will suck up the regolith, kicked up by its nitrogen gas thrusters, and hopefully collect enough to study back at home.

The arm has a full range of motion, with joints capable of movement comparable to shoulder, elbow and wrist joints. It will spend a year in orbit, surveying the surface of the Potentially Hazardous Object (PHO) before settling on a location for the key phase of its mission: a sample return to Earth. As such, it's an astronomical time capsule. Today's milestone marks the end of a two-year journey to Bennu, and the start of a 1.5-year study period. Expect to hear lots of cheering when confirmation comes that OSIRIS-REx finally found its new home around Bennu. "So that's over two-and-a-half years of operations at the asteroid". Here, scientists will be able to study it with an array of instruments that will provide a huge leap in our understanding of asteroids. Only five asteroids met all criteria. The rapid rotation also sends small rocks on the asteroid's surface flying into space, meaning there's nothing there for the spacecraft to collect. Bennu's nearly 500 meters in diameter, and rotates only once every 4.3 hours. Both Bennu and Ryugu are near-earth asteroids, with a diameter of about 500 meters and 900 meters respectively.

"OSIRIS-REx seeks answers to the questions that are central to the human experience: Where did we come from?"

"But this is all dependent on the outcome of a very close approach that Bennu has with Earth in September 2135", Johnson said. It is not impossible that asteroids like it delivered the building blocks of life to the early Earth - the mission could help us investigate this theory.

'Besides carbon, Bennu also might have another component important to life: water, which is trapped in the minerals that make up the asteroid'.

'Bennu is likely rich in organic molecules, which are made of chains of carbon bonded with atoms of oxygen, hydrogen, and other elements in a chemical recipe that makes all known living things. If it collided with Earth, Bennu would probably cause a crater. Such work could improve asteroid-impact forecasts, NASA officials have said. "You have a pristine sample of what the solar system was like billions of years ago", said Michelle Thaller, a spokeswoman for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. It orbits the sun at roughly the same distance as Earth. And Bennu is believed to be a grouping of rocks held together by gravity rather than a single object.

Starting in October, OSIRIS-REx performed a series of braking maneuvers to slow the spacecraft down as it approached Bennu. When will asteroid hit Earth? It will spend the next 505 days circling the asteroid and scanning it with cameras, LIDAR and spectrographs to try and find out as much information as possible about its composition.

Share

Advertisement

Related Posts

George HW Bush's final journey to the Capitol
On Wednesday, family and friends will gather at the National Cathedral in Washington for an 11 a.m ET memorial service. The public are permitted to pay their respects in the Capitol from late Monday until Wednesday.

Oklahoma, Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson in
Anything can happen in College Football and both teams will have several weeks to prepare and get ready for each other. Unbeaten UCF finished eighth in the final rankings, nowhere to be found in the committee's playoff discussion.

Liverpool to face Wolves in FA Cup third round
Winners of the next round tie will receive £135,500 and a place in round four, plus a possible TV bonus if selected for broadcast. Posh have previously been drawn against Middlesbrough just once in the FA Cup , in the fifth round in the 1974-75 season.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe Is Getting Its First Asian Superhero Franchise
He's raised in isolation from the rest of the world in Honan, China, where he becomes superhero-level good at martial arts. As Marvel Studios prepares for Captain Marvel , the studio is already thinking about it's next blockbuster.

Fantastic footage of Virat Kohli in the nets
With the Test series not too far away, the Australian media has added yet another feather to its cap of "infamous reportage". Last year, during the Ashes, the Adelaide day-night Test went into the first session of day five.

Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer Has Decided To Retire
Meyer will step down after the Rose Bowl on January 1, the university confirmed Tuesday. Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day will take over as head coach.

NVIDIA officially unveils its flagship Titan RTX GPU
Nvidia has launched the recently teased Titan RTX , which it variously refers to as "The Titan of Turing" and "T-Rex". The TITAN RTX also integrates with Nvidia's RAPIDS open-source libraries to speed up machine learning workflows.

Radio Station Bans "Baby It's Cold Outside" Because Of "Inappropriate" Lyrics
Why: Glenn Anderson, a host for the radio station that banned the song, said the lyrics felt "manipulative and wrong". The song found fame when it was used in the 1949 film Neptune's Daughter .

Sri Lankan court bars Mahinda Rajapaksa from acting as Prime Minister
He also has the support of the 14-member Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the 6 member Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP). But the president acknowledged that he was left without a government following the sudden court ruling.

Bulls fire coach Fred Hoiberg, name Jim Boylen as replacement
The Bulls are a relatively young team this season but have seemingly been going backward of late, losing six straight games. The writing was on the wall for the Bulls to move on, although they may have done it sooner than many would have thought.

© 2015 ExpressNewsline. All Rights reserved.