An American spacecraft this week managed to reach its goal, asteroid Bennu. Spacecraft OSIRIS-REX now operates around the asteroid, about…
An American spacecraft this week managed to reach its goal, asteroid Bennu. Spacecraft OSIRIS-REX now operates around the asteroid, about 122 million kilometers from the ground.
It’s a process that will take years.
“Easy, proud and anxious to begin exploring!” It is an example of the ancient space for researchers to study. which leading researcher Dante Lauretta of the University of Arizona wrote this week on Twitter. “To Bennu and back!”
This is the first time the United States attempted to collect asteroid samples to return to Earth. Only Japan has been successful.
The first step in the process has begun. OSIRIS-REX now moves 1
9 kilometers across Bennus’s surface to map the asteroid. It will fly over, around and across the ancient space, as close as 7 kilometers across the surface with each transfer.
Mapping Bennu will help researchers to create a more precise model of its shape, its mass and how fast it rotates or swings. They want to know if there are rocky or smooth areas. They also hope to learn what minerals are found on the surface of the colonial asteroid. This information will help researchers choose space to capture the best selection of dirt and rock and then return to Earth.
The American Space Agency NASA sent OSIRIS-REx on behalf of Bennu. NASA hopes to learn more about how our solar systems’ planets were formed and how life began here on earth. NASA explains that asteroids are the remains of the elements that formed the planet in the early solar system about 4.5 billion years ago.
Researchers say asteroids like Bennu hold natural resources like water organics and metals. Future space travel may need to use asteroids for these materials.
After its first mapping of Bennu, the spacecraft begins to run around the asteroid. The spacecraft is set to enter a path around Bennu on December 31st.
Bennu is only about 500 meters above. It will be the smallest item ever to be crooked by a spacecraft.
OSIRIS-REx aims to collect at least 60 grams of dust and rock from Bennu. The space will not land on the asteroid to collect the test. Instead, it will use a three meter long arm to card take down and collect particles. This is planned to happen in 2020.
The sample container will break and return to Earth in 2021. It is expected to land in the western state of Utah in 2023.
Bennu is not the only asteroid scientist to study. A Japanese spacecraft has circumvented another Asteroid near the Earth since June. The asteroid is Ryugu. It’s about twice as big as Bennu.
It is Japan’s second asteroid mission, and it is also about collecting samples. Ryuguas samples are expected to be back on earth by December 2020. But it will be a much smaller selection than researchers plan to collect from OSIRIS-REX.
Bennu and Ryugu are considered to be harmful asteroids. They could hit the earth from now on. Bennu can come close to 150 years from now.
Researcher Dante Lauretta confirmed that NASA’s work with Bennu will not change its circulation or make it more dangerous to us.
The OSIRIS REx mission began in 2016. It was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. This week it has traveled a total of 2 billion kilometers.
I’m Anne Ball.
Anne Ball wrote this story to learn English with information from Associated Press and NASA. George Grow was the editor.
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asteroid – n. one of thousands of small planets circling around the sun
anxious adj. frightened or nervous about what might happen
grab – v. to quickly take
solar system – n. the sun together with a group of bodies that circle it
organic – adj. of, related to or derived from living things
crater – n. a hole in the ground made by a bomb’s explosion or something falling from heaven