NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft briefly touched down on the surface of asteroid Bennu to collect rock and dust samples.
It is the United States’ first asteroid sample return mission, aiming to collect and carry a pristine, unaltered sample from an asteroid back to earth for scientific study.
The OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer) rocket was dispatched in 2016 for the excursion to Bennu.
The mission is basically a seven-year-long journey and will finish up when in any event 60 grams of tests are conveyed back to the Earth (in 2023).
According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the mission vows to bring the biggest measure of extraterrestrial material back to the Earth since the Apollo period.
The spacecraft contains five instruments meant to explore Bennu including cameras, a spectrometer and a laser altimeter.
Bennu is an ancient asteroid, currently more than 200 million miles from Earth. Bennu offers scientists a window into the early solar system as it was first taking shape billions of years ago and tossing ingredients that could have helped seed life on Earth.
The spacecraft now is stuffed with so much rubble from this week’s grab that it’s jammed open and precious particles are spilling back out into space, scientists said on Friday. OSIRIS-REx principle investigator Dante Lauretta was quoted by AP as saying that the mission, 200 million miles away, collected far more material than expected for the return to Earth – in the hundreds of grams.
The spacecraft was supposed to collect at least 60 grams of rubble, but images revealed that it had caught more material than scientists anticipated and was spewing an excess of flaky asteroid rocks into space. The sample container on the finish of the robot arm entered so profoundly into the space rock and with such power, notwithstanding, that stones got sucked in and got wedged around the edge of the top. Researchers gauge the sampler squeezed as much as 19 inches (48 centimeters) into the unpleasant, brittle, dark territory, news organization AP revealed.
The leakage had the OSIRIS-REx mission team scrambling to stow the collection device to prevent additional spillage.
Despite what’s ready, Osiris-Rex will even now leave the region of the space rock in March – that is the most punctual conceivable takeoff given the overall areas of Earth and Bennu. The examples won’t make it back until 2023, seven years after the shuttle soared away from Cape Canaveral.
“I think we’re going to have to wait until we get home to know precisely how much we have,” Dante Lauretta of the University of Arizona told reporters. “As you can imagine, that’s hard. … But the good news is we see a lot of material.”
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