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NASA prepares to collect samples of asteroids next week in the OSIRIS-REx mission in deep space

NASA currently has an orbit around the asteroid Bennu about 200 million miles from Earth, and an attempt to collect a sample from its surface will be made next week.

The OSIRIS-REx mission (Origin, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer) is designed to help improve our understanding of the risks of asteroid impacts and to explore how planets and life in the universe began. After a two-year journey through deep space, Bennu’s surface has been explored by the orbital intensively since its arrival in 2018 in preparation for its historic mission. If successful, the vessel will land on the asteroid and collect a sample of 2.1 ounces, which will be returned to our planet in 2023.

“Bennu contains material from the early solar system and may contain molecular precursors of life and the Earth̵

7;s oceans,” NASA said in a statement on the flow of life. “The asteroid is approximately as tall as the Empire State Building and could potentially threatened the Earth at the end of the next century, with a chance of 1 in 2700 to affect our planet during one of its close approaches. “

The NASA live cast online will begin at 6:12 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, October 20th. Press briefings and other social media activities will be held on October 19, starting at 1:00 PM EDT.

OSIRIS-REx, which is about 20 feet long and 10 feet high with elongated solar panels, has a two-part system to collect its asteroid sample. The first, the Touch-And-Go Sampling Mechanism (TAGSAM), is an articulated robotic arm with a sampling head that extends to the surface to collect regolith. Second, the test return capsule (SRC) acts as a container with a heat shield and parachutes that will simultaneously protect the asteroid regolith and allow it to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere. The mission is the first of its kind for NASA. Its predecessor was the Japanese Hayabusa mission, which returned with its asteroid test in 2010.

NASA has worked hard over the past decade with its deep space missions. Most recently, the Insight agency’s coffers made progress in studying Marsquakes since the arrival of Mars in 2018. The latest Mars rover Perseverance is on its way to the red planet, where it will collect its own sample from the surface to return to Earth in future mission. This mission also includes the first experiment with a rotating ship that will attempt to fly to another planet.

Another mission similar to OSIRIS-REx is NASA’s DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) spacecraft, scheduled to launch aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in July 2021. DART will collide with the asteroid Didymos in 2022. and the European Space Agency’s orbit will focus on the asteroid in 2023 to study the impact of the event on the space object. The data collected will help formulate planetary protection plans by providing a detailed analysis of DART’s real-time asteroid diversion experiment.

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