NASA spacecraft OSIRIS-REx pokes an asteroid and collects the debris

  • NASA spacecraft OSIRIS-REx pokes an asteroid and collects the debris

NASA spacecraft OSIRIS-REx pokes an asteroid and collects the debris

Although all of the data sent back by the spacecraft so far indicates that everything happened as planned during the "Touch-and-Go" event, called TAG, it will take the mission teams about a week to determine how much of a sample was collected by the spacecraft. Then the spacecraft's 11-foot robotic arm appeared to smash some porous rock upon initial contact on the surface.

The function denotes a significant first for NASA and an expected help for science, space investigation and our understanding of the solar system.

The spacecraft was travelling at 10 cm/sec when it contacted sample site Nightingale, then backed away at 40 cm/sec. By getting these samples to Earth, scientists will have their whole arsenal of equipment to utilize, plus whatever they dream up in the future. Fortunately, if the tag fails, the spacecraft can try again - it is equipped with three nitrogen cones to ignite and degrade the surface, which means the team makes three attempts to control a sample.

Due to Bennu's unique composition, it may bolster the argument for panspermia, the idea that life on Earth originated from microorganisms in outer space that were carried here unintentionally by objects such as space dust, meteoroids and asteroids.

The spacecraft is believed to have spent approximately 5 of the 6 seconds of contact collecting surface material, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said. One of the three pressurized nitrogen canisters will ignite a fire to ignite a sample of dust and small rocks that can then be caught in the head of an arm collector to deliver safely and return to Earth.

The SUV-sized OSIRIS-REx launched in 2016, arriving at Bennu two years later. Following sample acquisition, OSIRIS-REx fired its thrusters to head back into a safe distance.

The head is created to hold and hold the whipped surface material. However, if OSIRIS-REx failed to collect a sufficient amount of material, a second collection attempt will take place in January 2021.

Mission leaders will have to wait about a week before they can determine how much material was collected within the 16-second TAG maneuver.

If successful, this would not be the first time a sample has been collected from an asteroid.

For NASA, this mission was a long time coming.

This was based on artist renderings of the spacecraft, coupled with digital images of the asteroid's surface that OSIRIS-REx has been collecting for well over a year now. The goal is at least 60 grams recovered.

The spacecraft is not scheduled to depart Bennu for Earth until April next year.

The tricky, or TAG, test assortment of space rock 101955 Bennu was regarded a triumph at around 3:12 p.m. PT. NASA broadcast the TAG move live on NASA TV and the office's site. Significantly, Bennu hasn't undergone drastic changes since its formation over billions of years ago and therefore it contains chemicals and rocks dating back to the birth of the solar system. Atomic-level analysis of samples from Bennu could provide key evidence to support that hypothesis.

Japan expects samples from its second asteroid mission - in the milligrams at most - to land in the Australian desert in December.