The Osiris-Rex spacecraft in contact with Ben 1,800 wide asteroid Tuesday. Its mission? NASA’s first dust and rock samples from an asteroid in space.
Separating from the newly released footage – you can see below – the Touch-and-Go (TAG) sample collection program seems to be a success.
In the footage, OSIRIS-REx comes in contact with Bennu, where the spacecraft fires at the asteroid’s surface to collect samples, causing a cloud of debris.
“The sample event brought the spacecraft to the sample site, Nightingale, where the EDT confirmed a successful touchdown at 6:08 pm to the Earth team,” NASA said.
“Preliminary data show that the sample head touched the surface of the bean for about 6 seconds, after which the spacecraft performed a back-away burn.”
The asteroid mission made a mess – that’s a good thing. “We made a kind of mess on the surface of this asteroid. But it’s a good thing, “said Osiris-Rex Principal Investigator Dante Loretta of the University of Arizona. This is the kind of mess we expected. “
One of several reasons Why NASA chose Bennu Because of its primary origin. As NASA explains: “Bennu is a remnant from the turbulent formation of the Solar System. Some of the minerals inside Bennu may be older than the Solar System. Together they formed the Sun and its planets about 4.6 billion years ago.”
Earth-bearing meteorites pollute our atmosphere and the elements they have been exposed to for years. Going directly to the source, if you will, gives astronomers the opportunity to study the ancient origins of life.
Osiris-Rex samples will continue to be collected and mapped before the return mission to Earth begins in March 2021. It is expected to return to the US in 2023.
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