Science

NASA’s Earth-bound asteroid probe efficiently completes first course correction maneuver

NASA’s Earth-bound asteroid probe efficiently completes first course correction maneuver

Illustration of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft touching down on an asteroid.

Illustration of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft touching down on an asteroid.

Illustration of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft touching down on asteroid Bennu.

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has a particular package deal for Earth: rock samples from one of many oldest objects within the universe. In October 2020, the probe took a pattern from the asteroid Bennu and has been aiming for Earth ever since. To maintain it on monitor, NASA lately carried out the spacecraft’s first course correction maneuver, altering its trajectory towards our planet.

The The OSIRIS-REx mission is scheduled to ship samples from asteroid Bennu on September 24, 2023. The spacecraft is scheduled to eject its valuable cargo throughout a scheduled flyby, after which the capsule containing the asteroid samples will parachute into the air. Power Check and Coaching Vary, Utah, within the Nice Salt Lake Desert.

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OSIRIS-REx delivers samples of asteroid Bennu to Earth

Nevertheless, for this to work, the strategy trajectory of the spacecraft should be correct. “If the capsule is tilted too excessive, it would fly out of the environment,” mentioned Mike Mora, affiliate undertaking supervisor for OSIRIS-REx at NASA’s Goddard Area Flight Heart. assertion. “At too low an angle, it would expend within the Earth’s environment.” To verify the dear samples stay protected, NASA will conduct a sequence of maneuvers over the following yr to convey the spacecraft nearer to Earth at a exact velocity and course.

On September 21, the group behind the mission fired the spacecraft’s engines for 30 seconds, altering the spacecraft’s trajectory for the primary time since broke up with Bennu Might 10, 2021, the area company introduced Friday. The primary maneuver will enable OSIRIS-REx to move Earth at a distance of about 1,367 miles (2,200 kilometers), and the ultimate correction subsequent yr will convey it to inside 155 miles (250 kilometers) of the floor. At this distance, the spacecraft will be capable to safely eject the samples.

OSIRIS-REx was launched on September 8, 2016. It’s NASA’s first try to return floor materials from an asteroid so it may be analyzed in a laboratory. Its goal, Bennu, is a near-Earth object that orbits the Solar each 436.6 days and is believed to have shaped 4 billion years in the past. By analyzing samples from Bennu, scientists can get a greater thought of ​​the kind of supplies that existed within the early photo voltaic system.

After OSIRIS-REx drops a pattern from Bennu to Earth, the spacecraft will go on one other journey to rendezvous with one other asteroid, Apophis.

extra: Strolling on asteroid Bennu can be like stepping right into a ball pit, NASA says


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