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OSIRIS-REx is leaving the asteroid Bennu for good.



Artist's idea of ​​the OSIRIS-REx spaceship from Bennu (visible at bottom left).

Artist’s idea of ​​the OSIRIS-REx spaceship from Bennu (visible at bottom left).
illustration: A. NASA / Goddard / University of Arizona (Proper use)

Yesterday, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft passed by Asteroid Bennu It was the last time it ended a two-and-a-half year relationship with space rocks, but OSIRIS-REx remained stuck in the vicinity of the asteroid, as if reluctant to begin about 200 million miles of return to Earth.That journey will begin at the beginning of the month. May

OSIRIS-REx is carrying a precious sample from an asteroid and will likely return to Earth on September 24, 2023.

Asteroid Bennu

Asteroid Bennu
illustration: A. NASA / Goddard / University of Arizona

“Leaving nearby Bennu in May puts us in ‘An interesting point’ when the maneuver is off, it will use the least amount of fuel on the spacecraft’s aircraft, ‘said Michael Moreau, project manager for NASA’s Goddard space flight OSIRIS-REx mission. TestimonyMoreau added that it was the largest powered maneuver that the spacecraft approached Bennu in October 2018.

When OSIRIS-REx exited its familiar orbit, it captured images of the asteroid’s surface from a distance of about 2 miles.NASA researchers hope these will show how Bennu’s surface changed after taking samples of the asteroid. OSIRIS-REx, which requires the spacecraft’s explosive material off the rocky surface.

Collection of samples of “Touch and Go” (TAG). On October 20, 2020, it was a success. But the team added flights to the itinerary to see how they might change the asteroid’s surface. The flyby took almost six hours, covering more than the full spin of the asteroid.

The spacecraft created turbulence on the asteroid as it collected samples

The spacecraft created turbulence on the asteroid as it collected samples.
illustration: A. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (Proper use)

“By exploring the distribution of mined materials around the TAG site, we will learn more about the nature of the substrate and subsurface, along with the mechanical properties of asteroids,” said Dante Lauretta, a planetary scientist at the University of Arizona and the University of Arizona. OSIRIS-REx Principal Investigator at NASA News release.

We’ll be keeping an eye on those latest images, likely coming out in about a week. The spacecraft shares an antenna for Earthbound communications with the Perseverance rover, which is currently busy sending messages back. So it may take some time.

It took about a month for OSIRIS-REx to begin the journey back. Hopefully these final asteroid images will be enough to amaze us until September 2023.


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