Asteroid sample leaks from NASA spacecraft

Asteroid sample leaks from NASA spacecraft

Earlier this week, U.S. investigators collected a sample from an asteroid, found a large number of objects attached to the door of a rock container, and allowed the rocks to flow out into space, NASA officials said.

On Tuesday night, the spacecraft’s robotic arm, Osiris-Rex, lifted a debris cloud at Bennu and trapped it in a collecting device to return an asteroid the size of a school building 320 million kilometers from Earth.

But images of the spacecraft’s collection head returning to ground control revealed that more objects had been captured than scientists had expected and that asteroids were scattering into space.

In the event of a leak the Osiris-Rex mission team dug to store the collection equipment to prevent additional leakage.

“Time is of the essence,” NASA Science Associate Administrator Thomas Zurbuchen told reporters.

Rendering of an artist of the Osiris-Rex spacecraft landing on the asteroid Benny to collect a sample of the surface of the asteroids. Photo: Handout / University of Arizona / NASA Goddard Space Flight Center AFP

Surbuchen is the fragile process of transporting the sample collection container to a safe place inside the spacecraft without wasting more valuable items, eliminating the opportunity for mission teams to measure how much material has actually been collected as planned.

NASA does not know how much material it will collect until the sample capsule returns in 2023. Troubleshooting Mission Leaders is committed to abandoning the possibility of making a collective effort again and returning to the spacecraft’s Earth next March.

“Honestly, we could not have done a better collection experiment,” Osiris-Rex philosopher Dante Loretta told reporters, confirming a heartwarming sample size.

But with the door open with a rock and “related” images of the sample leak, “we are the victim of our success here,” he added.

The Osiris-Rex spacecraft touches the surface of the asteroid Benu on Tuesday, October 20.  Photo: via NASA AP

The Osiris-Rex spacecraft touches the surface of the asteroid Benu on Tuesday, October 20. Photo: via NASA AP

The minivan-sized Osiris-Rex spacecraft, built by Lockheed Martin for about $ 800 million, was launched in 2016 to capture and return the U.S. sample of the first asteroid. Another country that has achieved this is Japan.

Asteroids are one of the remnants of the formation of the Solar System 4.5 billion years ago. Scientists say a sample could provide clues about the origin of life on Earth. – Reuters

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