The image is overlaid with a graphic of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to illustrate the scale of the site. That’s thousands of times more material than has ever been brought back to Earth from an asteroid. A link has been sent to your friend's email address. From there, NASA will take the capsule to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, where officials will open it and disperse the contents to labs for study. The crater is about the size of a tennis court, and the target area the equivalent of a few parking spaces. Oct. 20 (UPI) --NASA's OSIRIS-REx on Tuesday evening will attempt to scoop a sample of rocks and dirt from asteroid Bennu to return to earth. Since then, the spacecraft has been taking photos, analyzing the asteroid and picking a landing site. The sample collection is scheduled for 3:12 p.m. For more stories that matter, subscribe to azcentral.com. Igor Bonifacic , @igorbonifacic A few hours before reaching Earth's atmosphere, OSIRIS-REx will jettison a capsule containing the sample and put it on a trajectory to the planet. After next week’s sample collection the spacecraft will travel back to Earth. Please be polite. The science team is aiming for at least two ounces and up to four pounds of material. Once the sample is collected, OSIRIS-REx has to wait until March to head back to Earth because that's when the asteroid and Earth are lined up in the right position for the spacecraft to return. “Bennu has thrown us a number of curve balls already," said Mike Moreau, the spacecraft's deputy project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Technicians begin assembling the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft in a Lockheed Martin Space clean room facility near Denver, Colorado, in March 2015. If all goes as planned, the spacecraft will descend near the surface and an 11-foot robotic arm topped with a filter will touch the rocky surface, trapping gravel and dust inside. But NASA will be in radio contact with the spacecraft and will broadcast key developments from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday. The spacecraft will need time to get back into orbit around the asteroid, and the science and engineering team will need a break from the intensity surrounding landing. Watch NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft touch asteroid surface A NASA space mission led by the University of Arizona touched asteroid Bennu 200 million miles from Earth and plucked a … The asteroid has one other characteristic that makes it particularly interesting to scientists, and humans in general. State has a plan, HOA's ex-board members sue residents, claiming defamation, Is metro Phoenix in for rain? However, if successful, OSIRIS-REx would go down in history as the most important sample return mission so far. © 2020 Forbes Media LLC. © 2020 Verizon Media. Typed comments will be lost if you are not logged in. Initially called 1999 rq36, the asteroid is now called 101955 Bennu—with Bennu being the name of an Egyptian mythological bird. (Photo: Courtesy John de Dios/University of Arizona News). Will the spacecraft torque and tilt over, causing NASA to momentarily lose radio contact? NASA officials have likened the complicated maneuver to driving a 15-passenger van from deep space onto a rotating object. And forget about a steering wheel or joystick. It may even contain the molecular precursors to life and Earth's oceans. The trip back will take 2½ years. “If OSIRIS-REx succeeds, it will bring back material that has been largely unchanged since our Solar System first formed over 4.5 billion years ago, providing scientists with an unprecedented window into our own origins.”. As the spacecraft touches down, it fires a nitrogen bottle and the gas stirs up the surface material, catching it in the filter. The OSIRIS-REx team, operating the spacecraft remotely from Colorado, has three chances to extend its spacecraft’s arm, touch down for a mere five seconds, and collect material from the surface of Bennu. Here's what to expect, Rep. Debbie Lesko's past includes criminal charge, debt, Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. The canister of samples of Bennu will then be taken to Johnson Space Center in Houston for analysis. The asteroid is about 200 million miles from Earth. Its orbital path actually intercepts Earth’s, with some of the dust particles it occasionally ejects sometimes causing a very minor meteor shower in late September each year. But once OSIRIS-REx runs out of fuel, it will be on its own. Its thought to be a young crater where the soil has been recently exposed, which maximises the chance of obtaining a pristine sample of the asteroid. (Photo: Courtesy John de Dios/University of Arizona News), (Photo: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona), Sen. Kyrsten Sinema to vote no on Judge Amy Coney Barrett confirmation, Mark Kelly classmates say report on yearbook photo is false, Who gets COVID-19 vaccine first in AZ? For instance, if the craft lands in an area with only large rocks, the filter won't be able to collect the fine grains needed for a sample. If you see comments in violation of our community guidelines, please report them. NASA — and the rest of the world — won't know until Wednesday if OSIRIS-REx has succeeded because data and images won't come back until then. Courtesy John de Dios/University of Arizona News. Possibly 70 oz/2 kg. After mapping Bennu for a year while in orbit, OSIRIS-REx’s science team chose a site called “Nightingale” in the asteroid’s northern hemisphere. Bennu. The spacecraft is expected to arrive near Earth in late September 2023. You may opt-out by. NASA’s OSIRIS-REx is a daring and unprecedented space mission to grab a piece of a "potentially hazardous” near-Earth asteroid that could contain the … This is Harley-Davidson's first electric bicycle, FCC launches a $9 billion fund to expand 5G in rural areas, Qualcomm's next-gen mesh network tech supports palm-sized routers, Extreme E pushes off-road racing start to March 2021, T-Mobile’s TVision is a cable-cutting package for its mobile customers, Researchers 3D-printed a cell-sized tugboat, PlayStation 5 first look: At home with Sony’s new console, Amazon enables a smart home Device Dashboard on some Fire tablets, 'Cyberpunk 2077' is delayed again, this time to December 10th. During the maneuver, OSIRIS-REx will slowly descend to Bennu’s surface at a few centimeters per second before outstretching an arm to touch its surface. On NASA… Welcome to our new and improved comments, which are for subscribers only. The spacecraft needs an area free of large rocks and steep slopes, which could damage or tip over the spacecraft. A second attempt wouldn't happen until January, NASA officials said. NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission readies itself to touch the surface of asteroid Bennu. Live coverage of the spacecraft's descent to the asteroid's surface for will begin at 5 p.m. EDT on NASA Television and the NASA website, where you can expect to see a live stream animation displaying the spacecraft’s progress in real time. NASA will be able to communicate with the craft, provided its solar panels are working and recharging the batteries. It's OK to disagree with someone's ideas, but personal attacks, insults, threats, hate speech, advocating violence and other violations can result in a ban. OSIRIS-REx launched in September 2016 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, arrived near Bennu in 2018. Dante Lauretta, a professor of planetary science at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, is the principal investigator for the OSIRIS-REx mission. NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will collect a sample of rocks, dust and debris from the asteroid called Bennu—currently 200 million miles away—and then fly it back to Earth. It’s expected to arrive in late 2023. I'm the editor of WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com and the author of "A Stargazing Program for Beginners: A Pocket Field Guide" (Springer, 2015), as well as many eclipse-chasing guides. Let friends in your social network know what you are reading about. Scientists have calculated that there’s a 1-in-2,700 chance it will strike Earth in the year 2170. OSIRIS-REx can't return to Earth because the craft is not equipped with landing gear. OSIRIS-REx has spent nearly two years orbiting and evaluating an asteroid named Bennu, a lump of rock and organic material about as tall as the Empire State Building and about a third of a mile across.

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+ How we made $200K with 4M downloads.

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