NASA Prepares to Launch First U.S. Asteroid Sample Return Mission

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OSIRIS-REx will transport to near-Earth asteroid Benn on a representation lapse idea Credits: NASA

OSIRIS-REx will transport to near-Earth asteroid Benn on a representation lapse mission
Credits: NASA

NASA is scheming to launch a initial idea to lapse a representation of an asteroid to Earth. The idea will assistance scientists examine how planets shaped and how life began, as good as urge a bargain of asteroids that could impact Earth.

The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) booster will transport to a near-Earth asteroid Bennu and move a representation behind to Earth for complete study. Launch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. EDT Thursday, Sept. 8 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

“This idea exemplifies a nation’s query to resolutely go and examine a solar complement and over to improved know a star and a place in it,” pronounced Geoff Yoder, behaving associate director for a agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “NASA scholarship is a biggest engine of systematic find on a world and OSIRIS-REx embodies a directorate’s idea to innovate, explore, discover, and inspire.”

The 4,650-pound (2,110-kilogram) fully-fueled booster will launch aboard an Atlas V 411 rocket during a 34-day launch duration that starts Sept. 8, and strech a asteroid aim in 2018. After a clever consult of Bennu to impersonate a asteroid and locate a many earnest representation sites, OSIRIS-REx will collect between 2 and 70 ounces (about 60 to 2,000 grams) of aspect element with a robotic arm and lapse a representation to Earth around a detachable plug in 2023.

“The launch of OSIRIS-REx is a commencement a seven-year tour to lapse primitive samples from asteroid Bennu,” pronounced OSIRIS-REx Principal Investigator Dante Lauretta of a University of Arizona, Tucson. “The group has built an extraordinary spacecraft, and we are well-equipped to examine Bennu and lapse with a systematic treasure.”

OSIRIS-REx has 5 instruments to try Bennu:

  • OSIRIS-REx Camera Suite (OCAMS) – A complement consisting of 3 cameras supposing by a University of Arizona, Tucson, will observe Bennu and yield tellurian imaging, representation site imaging, and will declare a sampling event.
  • OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter (OLA) – A scanning LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) contributed by a Canadian Space Agency will be used to magnitude a stretch between a booster and Bennu’s surface, and will map a figure of a asteroid.
  • OSIRIS-REx Thermal Emission Spectrometer (OTES) – An instrument supposing by Arizona State University in Tempe that will examine vegetable abundances and yield feverishness information with observations in a thermal infrared spectrum.
  • OSIRIS-REx Visible and Infrared Spectrometer (OVIRS) – An instrument supposing by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland and designed to magnitude manifest and infrared light from Bennu to brand vegetable and organic material.
  • Regolith X-ray Imaging Spectrometer (REXIS) – A tyro examination supposing by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University in Cambridge, that will observe a X-ray spectrum to brand chemical elements on Bennu’s aspect and their abundances.

Additionally, a booster has dual systems that will capacitate a representation collection and return:

  • Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) – An articulated robotic arm with a sampler head, supposing by Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver, to collect a representation of Bennu’s surface.
  • OSIRIS-REx Sample Return Capsule (SRC) – A plug with a feverishness defense and parachutes in that a booster will lapse a asteroid representation to Earth, supposing by Lockheed Martin.

“Our arriving launch is a perfection of a extensive volume of bid from an intensely dedicated group of scientists, engineers, technicians, financial and support personnel,” pronounced OSIRIS-REx Project Manager Mike Donnelly during Goddard. “I’m impossibly unapproachable of this group and demeanour brazen to rising a mission’s tour to Bennu and back.”

Source: NASA