NASA achieves the impossible: Osiris probe lands on a moving asteroid

NASA has once again entered the annals of history thanks to Osiris, a space probe that has managed to land on a moving asteroid. Osiris-R...

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NASA has once again entered the annals of history thanks to Osiris, a space probe that has managed to land on a moving asteroid.

Osiris-REx, the probe that has made history for NASA, gets its name from the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Safety and Regolith Explorer project, and managed to briefly land on a moving asteroid.

NASA’s Osiris probe manages to land on a moving asteroid; your main task – to collect space samples.

  • NASA has made history once again; this time, thanks to the Osiris-Rex probe, which landed on the asteroid Bennu
  • The objective of the probe was to collect a sample of at least 60 gr. from the surface of the asteroid
  • If all goes as researchers hope, and the probe managed to collect the sample, Osiris could return to Earth in 2023.

The Osiris probe (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Safety and Regolith Explorer) briefly touched the surface of a moving asteroid to collect dust and gravel to send it to Earth in 2023.

According to NASA, the asteroid on which the Osiris probe landed is called Bennu.

This is in an optimal state, and is located more than 200 miles or 321 million kilometers from Earth.

Bennu, according to the scientists involved in the project, offers a glimpse into the early solar system.

Photo: NASA

One of the questions that the Osiris probe has the task of finding out is what are the components that could have helped the formation of the Earth.

Osiris’ landing on the asteroid Bennu was called “Touch-And-Go”; If successful and collect the samples expected by the researchers, the spacecraft could begin planning its return trip to Earth in March 2021.

The director of the POTJim Bridenstine told the media that “This great feat by NASA shows how an incredible team from across the country came together and overcame great challenges to push the boundaries of knowledge.”; He also added that “Our industry, our academia and our international partners have made it possible to preserve a piece of the oldest solar system”

Osiris performs a historic maneuver and lands on Bennu, a moving asteroid

NASA reported that the Osiris-REx space probe activated its thrusters to go into orbit and approach Bennu. Then, around 1:50 p.m., he extended his shoulder, then his elbow, and finally the wrists of his 11-foot (3.35-meter) robotic arm.

The Osiris-REx robotic arm is also known as the Evidence Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM); it approached the asteroid Bennu while descending a distance of 805 meters towards its surface. The descent to the surface of Bennu lasted half an hour, and the probe was positioned at an altitude of approximately 410 feet (125 meters).

Subsequently, Osiris-REx executed a “Checkpoint” task, the first of two maneuvers that aimed to collect the samples.

The second maneuver was called “Matchpoint”, and its main objective was to slow down the descent to match the rotation of the asteroid at the moment of contact.

Osiris-REx’s feat is historic, as it is a task that seemed impossible.

To successfully reach the surface of Bennu, Osiris had to overcome all kinds of obstacles; among them, “Mount Doom”, a space rock the size of a two-story building.

Despite the difficulty of his journey to the asteroid, Osiris managed to land successfully in a space known as the Nightingale site, a surface the size of a small parking lot.

Photo: Shutterstock

Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, explained to the media that “This is an incredible feat – and today we have advanced both in science and engineering, as well as in our prospects for future missions to study these. mysterious evidence of our solar system. ”; furthermore, Zurbechen added, “A large piece of rock that has witnessed the entire history of our solar system may now be ready to return home to contribute generations of scientific knowledge, and we are eager to see what comes next. “

In a few days, it will be known if Osiris managed to achieve his goal

So far, all Osiris telemetry data indicates that tasks were performed as planned by scientists.

However, it will take a few more days to know for sure if Osiris-REx collected enough samples.

In theory, it was expected to collect a sample of at least 60 grams. of the surface of the asteroid, although in the best of the cases it could be had almost 2 kg. of samples.

And although it was a task to learn more about the solar system, the Osiris task may have a greater impact in a hundred years.

If the scientists’ calculations are correct, Bennu could impact Earth in the next hundred years, although this does not pose a threat to humanity.

If scientists can learn a little more about this asteroid, they may have more information about the trajectories it has taken previously.

The samples taken by Osiris will not return to Earth until 2023 and their final landing will take place in the Utah desert.

Osiris-REx
Photo: NASA

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