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Still Waters

NASA's OSIRIS-REx completes final tour of asteroid Bennu

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Still Waters

NASA's OSIRIS-REx completed its last flyover of Bennu around 6 a.m. EDT (4 a.m. MDT) April 7 and is now slowly drifting away from the asteroid; however, the mission team will have to wait a few more days to find out how the spacecraft changed the surface of Bennu when it grabbed a sample of the asteroid.

During the flyby, OSIRIS-REx imaged Bennu for 5.9 hours, covering more than a full rotation of the asteroid. It flew within 2.1 miles' (3.5 kilometers) distance to the surface of Bennu—the closest it's been since the TAG sample collection event.

It will take until at least April 13 for OSIRIS-REx to downlink all of the data and new pictures of Bennu's surface recorded during the flyby. It shares the Deep Space Network antennas with other missions like Mars Perseverance, and typically gets 4–6 hours of downlink time per day.

https://phys.org/news/2021-04-nasa-osiris-rex-asteroid-bennu.html

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Eldorado

After more than two years in orbit around asteroid Bennu, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is ready to come home.

It’s bringing with it a pristine sample of space rocks that geologists here on Earth are eager to study up close.

The sample will arrive in September 2023, but we won’t have to wait nearly that long for new data from OSIRIS-REx.

Last week, the probe carried out one final flyby of Bennu, in an effort to photograph the sample collection site. The photographs are being downlinked now, and should be here by midweek.

If you’ve been following the OSIRIS-REx mission, you probably already know why scientists are keen to see these photographs, but if you haven’t, hold on to your hats – it’s a wild story.

Universe Today article

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