After four years, NASA’s robotic spacecraft OSIRIS-REx will finally land on asteroid Bennu’s surface. The event will take place on 20th October 2020. The spacecraft will touch down for just a couple of seconds to collect samples from the asteroid’s surface. Nasa is trying to get dust and rock samples from the asteroid as stated by the agency itself on Thursday.
According to scientists, they are expecting that this mission will help them understand the core concept of planets and how they were formed and how life started. They are hoping that samples from asteroid Bennu will help them get valuable insight that could impact our Earth.
After waiting for four long years to reach the asteroid, NASA is finally excited to collect samples from its surface. This is an important mission for them as it may help them to understand a lot of things about Earth and other planets.
Mike Moreau who is the deputy project manager of OSIRIS-REx said that after years of hard work and planning, they are finally going to be successful. His team is finally coming down to putting the TAGSAM into contact with the asteroid’s surface. The spacecraft will land on the surface for just 5 to 10 seconds on a selected site by Nasa.
The chosen area is a rocky surface that is 52 feet in diameter and is called Nightingale. The robotic spacecraft will collect samples from the surface using its robotic arms. That’s because it holds a great amount of fine-grained material.
Just so you know the spacecraft is as large as a van. It will land in an area that is as big as a parking lot. They are taking precautions to avoid all the surrounding boulders.
The asteroid and spacecraft are approximately 207 million miles away from Earth which means it will take around 18.5 minutes for signals to travel between them.
This will prevent the live orders of flight activities which means the robotic spacecraft will have to do the sequence autonomously.
OSIRIS-REx is expected to collect at least 2 ounces of rocky material from the surface of Bennu. Once the sample is collected, it will bring it back to earth. This is going to be the largest sample return form since the Apollo program.
This is a big moment for NASA as they are about to acquire something they have been waitingn for a long time.