NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Completes Ultimate Excursion of Asteroid Bennu Ahead of Its 180,000,000 Mile Commute Again to Earth


NASA OSIRIS-REx's Final Asteroid Observation Run

This artist’s idea presentations the deliberate flight trail of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft throughout its ultimate flyby of asteroid Bennu, which is scheduled for April 7. Credit score: ASA/Goddard/College of Arizona

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx finished its closing flyover of Bennu round 6 a.m. EDT (4 a.m. MDT) April 7 and is now slowly drifting clear of the asteroid; alternatively, the venture crew should wait a couple of extra days to learn the way the spacecraft modified the outside of Bennu when it grabbed a pattern of the asteroid.

The OSIRIS-REx crew added this flyby to report floor adjustments attributable to the Contact and Move (TAG) pattern assortment maneuver on October 20, 2020. “By way of surveying the distribution of the excavated subject material across the TAG web page, we can be told extra in regards to the nature of the outside and subsurface fabrics together with the mechanical homes of the asteroid,” stated Dr. Dante Lauretta, predominant investigator for OSIRIS-REx on the College of Arizona.

Top-Down View of Asteroid Bennu

This symbol presentations a top-down view of asteroid Bennu, with a portion of the asteroid’s equatorial ridge and northerly hemisphere illuminated. It used to be taken by means of the PolyCam digital camera on NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft on March 4, 2021, from a distance of about 186 miles (300 km). The spacecraft’s cameras are pointed at once at Bennu’s north pole. Two huge equatorial craters are visual at the asteroid’s edge (middle and middle left). The picture used to be received throughout the venture’s Publish-TAG Operations segment, because the spacecraft slowly approached Bennu in preparation for a last observational flyby on April 7. Credit score: NASA/Goddard/College of Arizona

All through the flyby, OSIRIS-REx imaged Bennu for five.9 hours, masking greater than a complete rotation of the asteroid. It flew inside 2.1 miles’ (3.5 kilometers) distance to the outside of Bennu – the nearest it’s been because the TAG pattern assortment tournament.

It is going to take till no less than April 13 for OSIRIS-REx to downlink all the records and new footage of Bennu’s floor recorded throughout the flyby. It stocks the Deep House Community antennas with different missions like Mars Perseverance, and most often will get 4–6 hours of downlink time in keeping with day. “We amassed about 4,000 megabytes of information throughout the flyby,” stated Mike Moreau, deputy challenge supervisor of OSIRIS-REx at NASA’s Goddard House Flight Heart in Greenbelt, Maryland. “Bennu is roughly 185 million miles from Earth at this time, which means that we will be able to best succeed in a downlink data-rate of 412 kilobits in keeping with 2d, so it’s going to take a number of days to obtain all the flyby records.”

OSIRIS-REx Bennu Departure

NASA invitations the general public to observe OSIRIS-REx leave from Bennu on and NASA TV, Might 10, 2021, at 4 p.m. EDT.

As soon as the venture crew receives the pictures and different tool records, they are going to find out about how OSIRIS-REx jumbled up Bennu’s floor. All through landing, the spacecraft’s sampling head sunk 1.6 toes (48.8 centimeters) into the asteroid’s floor and concurrently fired a pressurized price of nitrogen gasoline. The spacecraft’s thrusters kicked up a considerable amount of floor subject material throughout the back-away burn – launching rocks and mud within the procedure.

OSIRIS-REx, with its pristine and valuable asteroid shipment, will stay within the neighborhood of Bennu till Might 10 when it’s going to fireplace its thrusters and start its two-year cruise house. The venture will ship the asteroid pattern to Earth on September 24, 2023.

KinetX Flight Navigator Leilah McCarthy

KinetX Flight Navigator Leilah McCarthy processes navigation photographs to assist goal NASA’s OSIRIS-REx ultimate flyby of near-Earth asteroid Bennu. Credit score: KinetX Inc./Coralie Adam

NASA’s Goddard House Flight Heart in Greenbelt, Maryland, supplies general venture control, techniques engineering, and the security and venture assurance for OSIRIS-REx (Origins Spectral Interpretation Useful resource Identity Safety – Regolith Explorer). Dante Lauretta of the College of Arizona, Tucson, is the predominant investigator, and the College of Arizona additionally leads the science crew and the venture’s science commentary making plans and information processing. Lockheed Martin House in Denver constructed the spacecraft and offers flight operations. Goddard and KinetX Aerospace are chargeable for navigating the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. OSIRIS-REx is the 3rd venture in NASA’s New Frontiers Program, which is controlled by means of NASA’s Marshall House Flight Heart in Huntsville, Alabama, for the company’s Science Challenge Directorate in Washington.

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