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NASA's OSIRIS-REX spacecraft arrives at asteroid Bennu

Two years after the launch of Cape Canaveral, NASA's OSIRIS-REX Spacecraft finally reached its destination on Monday, slowly closed to…

Two years after the launch of Cape Canaveral, NASA’s OSIRIS-REX Spacecraft finally reached its destination on Monday, slowly closed to within about four miles of the asteroid Bennu in one and a half years of close-up before attempt to collect soil and stone samples for return to earth.

“We have come!” an engineer at Lockheed Martins Air Traffic Control Center in Colorado shouted out 76 million miles telemetry flow away confirming that a critical rocket break was completed

OSIRIS REX will now do five short-term mapping solutions before ending in orbit around the asteroid at the end of the year .

<img src = “https://cbsnews3.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/201

8/12/03/e4c067ea-d2ab-4ee5-9402-beaa262003f6/resize/620x/170dffa9ae1e3a371f8caf7b8f8c3cf1/bennu.gif# “alt =” bennu.gif “srcset =” https://cbsnews3.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/2018/12/03/e4c067ea-d2ab-4ee5-9402- This series of pictures taken by OSIRIS-REx spacecraft shows the asteroid Bennu in full rotation from a distance of about 50 miles. [80km/19659006] NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center / University of Arizona

The OSIRIS-REX Mission and NASA’s New Spacecraft which now extends into a denizen of the Kuiperbelt billion miles past Pluto are both aimed at studying primitive bodies left from the solar system 4.6 billion years ago.

New horizons will fly past their goal, a frozen unchanged body called Ultima Thule on New Year’s Day, a few hours after OSIRIS -REX releases a gravitational runway around Bennu.

The aim of both missions is to learn more about how the original solar network was brought together to form the sun and its retinue of planets, asteroids and comets, giving scientists a better understanding of the raw materials that entered the earth’s construction and into and with the possible development of life.

OSIRIS-REX – The missing acronym stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification and Security-Regolith Explorer – is equipped with three camera s, two spectrometers, a laser altimeter and an X-ray system developed by college students.

It is also equipped with a touch-and-go sampling mechanism or TAGSAM at the end of a 10 foot long robot arm. In July 2020, after one and a half years of detailed mapping and repetitions, OSIRIS-REX will briefly press TAGSAM, shaped something like an inverted pie dish, in contact with the Bennu surface.

During five seconds of operation, compressed nitrogen will push into the collector, staring up and lifting small stones and ground. Some of that material, at least two ounces and up to 4.4 pounds, will be caught in filters to return to the ground.

After having recovered, OSIRIS-REx will control the robot arm to place the collector inside an aerodynamic test return capsule. At that time, in-situ science will end, and OSIRIS-REX will simply wait for the ground and Bennu to reach the right positions in their paths to start the long journey home.

“We can not leave Bennu before March 2021, just because we have to wait for the orbital mechanics to match,” said Dante Lauretta, the main researcher, in an earlier interview. “So it’s over two and a half years on the asteroid . We only touch the asteroid for the short five-second sampling contact. We will do everything we can to make sure we get the first try. “

OSIRIS-REX will return to Earth in September 2023, release the test container for a high speed stop to the Utah Test and Training Range about 80 miles west of Salt Lake City, Utah. Recovery Crews will deliver the capsule to Astromaterials Acquisition and Curation Office at Johnson Space Center in Houston where Apollo Moon Rocks is stored.

Some Bennu samples will be held in reserve while the rest is subject to two years detailed analysis.

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