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NASA's OSIRIS-REx touches down on asteroid


Posted on Wednesday, 21 October, 2020 | Comment icon 11 comments

The sample collection went without a hitch. Image Credit: NASA / Goddard / UOA
The space probe has successfully pulled off an ambitious landing maneuver on an asteroid 200 million miles away.
Measuring approximately 500 meters in diameter, Bennu has long been of interest to scientists because of its potential to teach us more about the earliest days of the solar system.

It is currently being visited by NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft which arrived in orbit around the space rock in December 2018 with the ultimate goal of retrieving a sample for further study.

Now, much to the relief of the mission team back home, the probe has succeeded in pulling off a daring landing maneuver which saw it descend towards the asteroid, briefly make contact, then return to a safe distance with its newly acquired cargo of dust and rocks from the asteroid's surface in tow.

"I can't believe we actually pulled this off," said lead scientist Dante Lauretta.

"The spacecraft did everything it was supposed to do."

The next step of the mission will be to determine just how much material the probe managed to pick up during its brief rendez-vous. If it failed to acquire any, another landing attempt may be needed.

Whatever samples it does collect will be returned to the Earth in 2023.

"We are on the way to returning the largest sample brought home from space since Apollo," said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine.

"If all goes well, this sample will be studied by scientists for generations to come."



Source: The Guardian | Comments (11)


Tags: Bennu, Asteroid


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by Myles on 21 October, 2020, 14:57
Wow!   What a great achievement by NASA.  Got to give them a ton of credit for pulling this off.  
Comment icon #3 Posted by Jon the frog on 21 October, 2020, 20:41
Nice !!!
Comment icon #4 Posted by Hazzard on 21 October, 2020, 22:41
These guys are truly amazing, is there something they cant do?!
Comment icon #5 Posted by DreadLordAvatar on 22 October, 2020, 4:30
Gratz NASA, tax money well spent!!!   Now carry on folks, back to destroying the natural habitat and ecosystem at home!  
Comment icon #6 Posted by third_eye on 22 October, 2020, 5:38
Let's not jinx anything with skipping the ponies, Osiris Rex still have to return with the payload, safely.  The mission ain't completed yet.  ~  
Comment icon #7 Posted by Myles on 22 October, 2020, 13:59
  We have pics. https://www.foxnews.com/science/nasa-releases-pics-of-bennu-asteroid-building-blocks-of-life  
Comment icon #8 Posted by Hazzard on 22 October, 2020, 16:24
Ever wonder why you never get invited to a singel party?
Comment icon #9 Posted by toast on 22 October, 2020, 19:03
Wow! There are people who are not capable to park a 4 meter long car into a 8 meter parking lot. But there are also people who managed to took a truck sized object on a journey over a distance of 3.7B kilometers, at a speed of 50km/sec., for a rendezvous with a celestrial body of 500 meters in diameter, traveling at a speed of 28km/sec around the Sun and in a distance of 333M to Earth, doing some dust cleaning out there and bringing back the bag to Earth. Hell, thats what I call the dynamic of human skills!
Comment icon #10 Posted by Still Waters on 24 October, 2020, 11:20
Update: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-54672691
Comment icon #11 Posted by third_eye on 24 October, 2020, 13:30
Oh dear, I hope nobody has to make that "an alien ate my homework" excuse...  ~


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