Touching Down on Asteroid Bennu


Oct. 21, 2020

Particles ejected from Bennu

Bennu, a well-preserved, historical asteroid, is at present greater than 200 million miles (321 million kilometers) from Earth and gives scientists a window into the early photo voltaic system because it was first taking form billions of years in the past and flinging substances that might have helped seed life on Earth.

On Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx pattern assortment mission carried out a profitable “Contact-And-Go” (TAG) maneuver.

At 1:50 p.m. EDT, OSIRIS-REx fired its thrusters to nudge itself out of orbit round Bennu. It prolonged the shoulder, then elbow, then wrist of its 11-foot (three.35-meter) sampling arm, generally known as the Contact-And-Go Pattern Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM), and transited throughout Bennu whereas descending a couple of half-mile (805 meters) towards the floor. After a four-hour descent, at an altitude of roughly 410 toes (125 meters), the spacecraft executed the “Checkpoint” burn, the primary of two maneuvers to permit it to exactly goal the pattern assortment web site, generally known as “Nightingale.”

All spacecraft telemetry knowledge signifies the TAG occasion executed as anticipated. Nonetheless, it should take a couple of week for the OSIRIS-REx group to substantiate how a lot pattern the spacecraft collected.

This view of asteroid Bennu ejecting particles from its floor on January 19, 2019 was created by combining two photos taken on board OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. Different picture processing strategies had been additionally utilized, equivalent to cropping and adjusting the brightness and distinction of every picture.

Picture Credit score: NASA/Goddard/College of Arizona/Lockheed MartinFinal Up to date: Oct. 21, 2020Editor: Yvette Smith

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