Friday, September 29, 2023

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx maneuver to return asteroid samples

A powerful spacecraft is on its way to Earth, transporting rock and dust from a distant asteroid to eager scientists waiting to analyze the valuable sample. The OSIRIS-REx mission recently fired its engines to head toward the sample delivery site. Their rendezvous on Earth is scheduled for later this month.

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NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft completed a trajectory correction maneuver on Sunday, filtering its speed relative to Earth by about 0.5 miles per hour (less than 1 kilometer per hour), the space agency said Monday. If this critical course correction had not been achieved, the space probe would have flown past Earth.

OSIRIS-REx is scheduled to deliver the sample to the asteroid Bennu on September 24th. The spacecraft will release a capsule containing the sample at 10:42 a.m. ET, about 13 minutes after its release, at a distance of 36 miles by 8.5 miles (58 kilometers by 14 kilometers) at the department’s Utah Test and Training Range, which will land in Defense, southwest of Salt Lake City, according to NASA.

The spaceship itself, however, won’t stay long. OSIRIS-REx will deliver its sample and begin its next mission, exploring the asteroid Apophis. Consequently, the mission will be renamed OSIRIS-APEX (OSIRIS-Apophis Explorer).

OSIRIS-REx launched in September 2016 and took a sample from the asteroid Bennu in October 2020. Since then, the spacecraft has returned to Earth to drop its valuable cargo. This is NASA’s first attempt to obtain a sample from an asteroid that scientists can analyze closely to find clues about how life might have originated on Earth.

The spacecraft is currently 4 million miles (7 million kilometers) from Earth and moving toward its delivery zone at a speed of about 14,000 miles per hour (approximately 23,000 km/h). OSIRIS-REx may need to undergo further training. This corrective maneuver will be carried out on September 17th, a week before the scheduled large delivery date.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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