Science & Astronomy
Crews dump a box containing the OSIRIS-REx mission’s asteroid pattern from a airplane in Houston on Sept. 25, 2023.
(Image credit score: NASA/JSC)
The asteroid pattern quiet by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft gorgeous experienced its second touchdown in handiest two days.
The pattern — a stash of dirt and gravel that the probe snagged from the asteroid Bennu in October 2020 — touched down within the Utah desolate tract on Sunday (Sept. 24), thrilling mission crew participants and scientists around the enviornment.
Nonetheless the asteroid pattern stayed within the Beehive Suppose for beautiful a day before boarding a airplane to its final destination, which it reached on the present time (Sept. 25).
“Welcome to Houston, OSIRIS-REx! The asteroid pattern arrived on the present time in Texas the place this might well even be curated and preserved by our crew here at Johnson. The idea quiet might well even abet scientists around the enviornment investigate planetary formation, the origins of lifestyles and the scheme in which asteroids might well even impression Earth,” NASA’s Johnson Residence Center (JSC), which is essentially based totally mostly in Houston, acknowledged on the present time in a put up on X (beforehand Twitter).
Linked: NASA’s OSIRIS-REx lands samples of asteroid Bennu to Earth after historic 4-billion-mile scramble
OSIRIS-REx quiet the pattern from the asteroid Bennu in October 2020. (Image credit score: NASA/JSC)OSIRIS-REx launched in September 2016 and arrived at Bennu, a 1,650-foot-wide (500 meters) shut to-Earth asteroid, in December 2018. The probe studied Bennu up shut for 22 months, then swooped in to rob a pattern — marking the very first time a NASA probe had managed to non-public pieces of an asteroid in home.
That dive printed Bennu’s ground to be surprisingly spongy; OSIRIS-REx sank a long way into the asteroid before backing away to security.
OSIRIS-REx left Bennu in May maybe presumably well 2021, origin a prolonged scramble support to Earth. At 6:42 a.m. EDT (1042 GMT) on Sunday, the probe launched its pattern pill, which came all the vogue down to Earth on the U.S. Department of Protection’s Utah Test and Coaching Range about four hours later — gorgeous as planned.
The Bennu pattern will now secure its design to a newly built curation facility at JSC managed by the company’s Astromaterials Learn and Exploration Science division.
The OSIRIS-REx science crew — which contains higher than 200 of us essentially based totally mostly at 35 institutions around the enviornment — will then speak the pattern for about two years in explain to meet the mission’s predominant science dreams. Because the above JSC put up illustrious, those dreams consist of better idea how the solar scheme fashioned and developed and the role carbon-rich asteroids enjoy Bennu might well even simply hold played in turning in lifestyles’s building blocks to Earth.
The science crew can hold get entry to to about 25% of the Bennu topic topic, which is believed to weigh about 8.8 oz. (250 grams). Four p.c of the pattern will traipse to the Canadian Residence Agency, which offered OSIRIS-REx’s laser altimeter instrument.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will get 0.5% of the topic topic, as fragment of a contend with NASA that entails collaboration between OSIRIS-REx and JAXA’s Hayabusa2 mission, which returned a small pattern of the asteroid Ryugu to Earth in December 2020.
The remaining 70% of the Bennu pattern will remain at JSC “for speak by scientists now not yet born, the utilization of technologies now not yet invented, to answer to main questions about the solar scheme,” in accordance with NASA’s OSIRIS-REx pattern-return press equipment.
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Michael Wall is a Senior Residence Author with Residence.com and joined the crew in 2010. He essentially covers exoplanets, spaceflight and protection force home, but has been identified to dabble within the home art beat. His e book about the be taught alien lifestyles, “Out There,” became published on Nov. 13, 2018. Sooner than turning into a science creator, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the College of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor’s level from the College of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the College of California, Santa Cruz. To search out out what his most recent venture is, you would possibly well presumably presumably also follow Michael on Twitter.
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