NASA Spacecraft OSIRIS-REx Meets Asteroid Bennu

NASA Spacecraft OSIRIS-REx Meets Asteroid Bennu


The US spacecraft- OSIRIS-REx successfully reached Bennu asteroid this week. This asteroid could hit Earth one day, as per the reports. It is approximately 122 million kilometers away from Earth. The spacecraft, OSIRIS-REx will bring back material from Bennu asteroid for the scientists to study. It was the first time for the US to gather samples of the asteroid in the return journey to Earth. Before this, only Japan had done it successfully.

The Twitter status of the lead scientist Dante Lauretta showed their happiness as well as anxiousness about the mission. All the scientists were proud and excited about the news to explore the new study material. The spacecraft is about 19 kilometers above the Bennu asteroid. It will move towards Bennu to be about 7 kilometers near it and move across, around and over the asteroid. American scientists are excited to learn about the ancient asteroid. They would create a model of Bennu to analyze and experiment more. They want to study its spinning or turning speed. They also want to know what minerals are found on it and if there are smooth or rocky areas on it.

The asteroid Bennu being only 500 meters approximately in size, it is said to be the smallest asteroid ever, across whom a spacecraft will orbit. The asteroid may have natural resources like metals, water, organics, etc. After mapping the asteroid, the OSIRIS-REx will start orbiting around it. On Dec 31, the spacecraft will enter its orbit. Learning about this asteroid may help the scientists with more information about the formation of the solar system’s planets and life on it. The asteroids are leftover parts of the planets of solar systems. They may be formed about 4.5 billion years ago.

In this mission, the spacecraft is to collect about 60 grams of rocks and dust from the asteroid. To collect this, an arm will be used by the spacecraft. This will take place in 2020, as planned. In 2021, the sample container of the spacecraft will head back to earth. In 2023, it will probably land in the western state of Utah. This mission began in 2016 and has traveled 2 billion kilometers till now.

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