Technology: NASA chooses four potential asteroid sample sites for OSIRIS-REx - PressFrom - US
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TechnologyNASA chooses four potential asteroid sample sites for OSIRIS-REx

12:30  14 august  2019
12:30  14 august  2019 Source:   engadget.com

NASA's spacecraft is orbiting closer to an asteroid than ever before

NASA's spacecraft is orbiting closer to an asteroid than ever before In the dark and lonely place that is space, NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission has managed to reach a new level of proximity as it studies an asteroid. After a maneuver, the spacecraft in NASA's asteroid study mission is orbiting closer to a planetary body than any spacecraft has ever come, the space agency said. The mission recently entered a new phase where the spacecraft will orbit about 2,231 feet, or 0.4 miles, above the asteroid Bennu's surface.

Pictured are the four candidate sample collection sites on asteroid Bennu selected by NASA ’s OSIRIS - REx mission. Since its arrival in December 2018, the OSIRIS - REx spacecraft has mapped the entire asteroid in order to identify the safest and most accessible spots for the spacecraft to

The OSIRIS - REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer) is a NASA asteroid study and sample -return mission. The mission's main goal is to obtain a sample of at least 60 grams (2.1 oz) from 101955 Bennu, a carbonaceous near-Earth asteroid

NASA's OSIRIS-REx team has selected four potential sites for the agency's first asteroid sample return mission. The spacecraft started mapping asteroid Bennu's surface as soon as it arrived in late 2018, and scientists part of its ground team thought they'd be choosing the final two candidate sites at this point in time. Observations made from our planet showed that the asteroid had large areas with fine-grain materials, but images the spacecraft took showed the truth: Bennu has an especially rocky terrain, making it a challenge to collect materials less than 1 inch in diameter. That's the maximum size the probe's sample mechanism can handle.

NASA spacecraft snaps detailed asteroid picture from closest orbit yet

NASA spacecraft snaps detailed asteroid picture from closest orbit yet NASA’s asteroid-sampling spacecraft OSIRIS-REx just snapped its closest picture yet of Bennu, the deep-space rock it’s been hovering around since the end of last year. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); The high-resolution image highlights the object’s very rocky surface and even showcases a very large boulder on its southern half. OSIRIS-REx took this up-close picture on June 13th, right after the spacecraft inserted itself into orbit around Bennu for the second time.

Pictured are the four candidate sample collection sites on asteroid Bennu selected by NASA ’s The team originally had planned to choose the final two sites by this point in the mission. OSIRIS - REx sample collection is scheduled for the latter half of 2020, and the spacecraft will return the asteroid

Artist’s depiction of OSIRIS - REx flying past Earth (Photo Credit: NASA .gov). After almost a year of orbiting the sun, on September 22 If all goes according to plan, the spacecraft will enter Bennu’s orbit in August 2018 and start surveying the asteroid , as well as mapping out potential sampling sites .

NASA chooses four potential asteroid sample sites for OSIRIS-REx

The fact that OSIRIS-Rex was designed to identify sample sites with an 82-foot radius made things even more difficult. To be able to find four boulder-free areas, the mission team had to adjust the spacecraft's sample site identification process to be able to detect sites with a radius of 16 to 33 feet. The scientists also had to give its navigation capabilities an accuracy boost to be able to target smaller sites than expected.

The OSIRIS-Rex team stuck to the mission's Egyptian-themed naming scheme and christened the four sites Nightingale, Kingfisher, Osprey and Sandpiper -- all birds native to Egypt. They vary in geological features: Nightingale contains fine-grain dark materials, Kingfisher has hydrated minerals, Osprey may have carbon-rich materials, while Sandpiper could yield water-rich samples. OSIRIS-REx will take close-up images of the four sites and analyze them in detail this fall. That will provide the mission team the data it needs to choose the primary and backup sample sites in December.

NASA’s asteroid probe snapped its closest photo yet of space rock Bennu

NASA’s asteroid probe snapped its closest photo yet of space rock Bennu NASA's OSIRIS-REx asteroid probe is giving scientists an even better look at the surface of the space rock known as Bennu now that it's moved even closer to the object. 

OSIRIS - REx Mission. National Aeronautics and Space Administration ( NASA ). University of Arizona. After months grappling with the rugged reality of asteroid Bennu’s surface, the team leading NASA ’s first asteroid sample return mission has selected four potential sites for the Origins

OSIRIS - REx will travel to a near-Earth asteroid called Bennu and bring a small sample back to Earth for study. NASA 's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland provides overall mission management, systems engineering and safety and mission assurance for OSIRIS - REx .

NASA

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