The Osiris Rex spacecraft will study the asteroid again …

spaceship Osiris Rex from NASA A final flight will be carried out at an altitude of 3,700 meters from the asteroid Benno next Wednesday, April 7 to study the remaining footprint on the surface after Sample collection Destined for the ground carried out last October 20.

The OSIRIS-REx team decided to add this last flyby after the asteroid’s surface He was terribly upset about collecting samples. During the landing, the sampling head of the 19-inch spacecraft sank into the Bennu surface and simultaneously released a pressurized charge of nitrogen gas.

In addition, the propulsion engines of the spacecraft also crowded a large amount of surface materials during the combustion of the recoil. Because Bennu’s gravity is so weak, These different forces from the spacecraft had a major impact on the location of the sample, Resulting in many rocks and dust being thrown into the area in the process.

The final Bennu flyby will provide the mission team with an opportunity to see how the spacecraft’s contact with the asteroid’s surface altered the sample’s location and surrounding area. During flight, one of the observation sequences made during the mission’s detailed reconnaissance phase in 2019 will imitate.

Osiris will depict Rex Benno for six hours, which is just over the asteroid’s full rotation period.. During this time frame, the PolyCam spacecraft photographer will obtain high-resolution images of the northern and southern hemispheres of the asteroid and its equatorial region. The team will then compare these new images with previous high-resolution images of the asteroid obtained two years ago.

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Most of the other scientific instruments on the spacecraft will also collect data in flight, including the MapCam imager, OSIRIS-REx Thermal Emission Spectrometer (OTES), and the OSIRIS-REx Visible and Infrared Spectrometer (OVIRS). Laser altimeter (OLA). Creating these tools will give the team the opportunity to assess the current state of each scientific instrument on the spacecraft, as dust covered the tools during the sample collection event.

After the Bennu flyby, it would take several days for the flyby data to be sent back to Earth. Once the data is downloaded, the team will scan the images. At this point, the team will also be able to evaluate the work of the scientific instruments, according to the NASA reports.

The spacecraft will remain near asteroid Bennu until May 10, when the mission enters the return flight phase and begins its two-year journey back to Earth.. As it approaches Earth, the spacecraft will drop the Sample Return Capsule (SRC), which contains rocks and dust collected from Bennu. Then, SRC will travel through Earth’s atmosphere and land under parachute at Test and Training Field in Utah on September 24, 2023.

Once recovered, the capsule will be transported to the preservation facility at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, where the sample will be removed for distribution to laboratories around the world, allowing scientists to study the composition of our solar system and Earth as a habitable habitat. planet.

Lovell Loxley

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