OSIRIS-REx will make its ‘touch-and-go’ landing, with NASA noting that the mission will assist unlock the secrets and techniques of the Photo voltaic System. “Asteroids are remnants of the constructing blocks that fashioned the planets in our photo voltaic system, and maybe enabled life on Earth,” it defined in an e-mail to Fox Information.
The mission will even present data that would assist defend our planet from a doable collision with Bennu.
Bennu is about as tall because the Empire State Constructing, and will doubtlessly threaten Earth within the subsequent century, in keeping with NASA. “Bennu has a 1:2700 likelihood of impacting Earth within the late 2100s, however this mission will even assist us be taught extra about defending ourselves if mandatory,” the company explains on its web site.
The van-sized spacecraft is aiming for the comparatively flat center of a tennis court-sized crater named Nightingale. Boulders as massive as buildings loom over the focused landing zone.
The landing is scheduled for six:12 p.m. EDT on Tuesday.
The spacecraft will use a robotic arm to seize the pattern from Bennu, which is about 200 million miles from Earth. Contact ought to final 5 to 10 seconds, simply lengthy sufficient to shoot out pressurized nitrogen gasoline and suck up the churned grime and gravel. Programmed prematurely, the spacecraft will function autonomously throughout the unprecedented touch-and-go maneuver. With an 18-minute lag in radio communication every method, floor controllers for spacecraft builder Lockheed Martin close to Denver cannot intervene.
OSIRIS-Rex can attempt once more to retrieve the pattern if the primary try is not profitable.
OSIRIS-REx, which stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Useful resource Identification, Safety-Regolith Explorer, launched in September 2016 from Cape Canaveral Air Drive Station. The spacecraft reached Bennu in December 2018.
The craft is scheduled to depart Bennu subsequent yr and can ship the asteroid pattern to Earth on Sep. 24, 2023.
NASA just lately revealed that elements of one other asteroid, Vesta, have been noticed on the floor of Bennu.
Earlier in 2019, Hayabusa2 briefly touched down onto Ryugu and fired a scientific analysis “bullet” into the house rock.
The Related Press, Fox Information’ Jennifer Earl and Chris Ciaccia contributed to this text. Observe James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers