Tuesday, 13 August 2019 | IANS | Washington
After grappling with the rugged actuality of asteroid Bennu’s surface, NASA, the US house company, has lastly chosen four doable websites for its spacecraft to “tag” its cosmic dance partner.
Since its arrival in December 2018, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has mapped the total asteroid in express to identify the most accumulate and most accessible spots for the spacecraft to web a sample.
These four websites now will most likely be studied in extra detail in express to make a quite a entire lot of the closing two websites — a main and backup — in December, NASA acknowledged in an announcement on Tuesday.
“We knew that Bennu would shock us, so we came ready for whatever shall we discover,” acknowledged Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx main investigator on the College of Arizona, Tucson.
The four candidate sample websites on Bennu are designated as Nightingale, Kingfisher, Osprey, and Sandpiper — all birds native to Egypt.
Since arriving at shut to-Earth asteroid Bennu, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission has been studying this diminutive world of boulders, rocks, and unfastened rubble — and attempting to search out a residing to contact down.
The function is to web a sample of Bennu in mid-2020, and return it to Earth in leisurely 2023.
This topple, OSIRIS-REx will starting up detailed analyses of the four candidate websites for the duration of the mission’s reconnaissance phase.
The 2d and third stages of reconnaissance will starting up in early 2020.
OSIRIS-REx sample series is scheduled for the latter half of of 2020, and the spacecraft will return the asteroid samples to Earth on September 24, 2023.