NASA asteroid probe filled with space rock samples

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The OSIRIS-REx team will strive to store samples as quickly as possible to minimize quality loss. NASA’s first asteroid sampling operation is obviously going well. The agency’s OSIRIS-REx probe captured so much dirt and rocks from the surface of Near-Earth Asteroid Bennu on October 20 As a result, the sampling mechanism of the spacecraft could not be shut down properly, so that part of the collected material escaped into space. The mission team members announced on October 23.

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  • October 22, 2020, by Aerospace The three images captured by the aircraft’s SamCam camera show that the sampling head of the NASA OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is filled with rocks and dust collected from the surface of the asteroid Bennu. They also showed that some of the particles were slowly escaping the sampling head. The OSIRIS-REx team’s analysis showed that a small amount of material was passing through a small gap, and the Mylar flap on the head was slightly wedged. (Image source:NASA)

OSIRIS-REx operators now plan to store the collected materials in the probe’s return container as soon as possible, with the largest Minimize lost materials. NASA officials said the research team hopes to begin this vital multi-day operation on October 27. Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s Deputy Director of Science in Washington, said:”Bennu continues to surprise us with great science, and also throws some curveballs.”

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Although we may have to act faster To store samples, but this is not a bad problem. We are very happy to see what seems to be a rich sample that will inspire scientific inspiration decades after this historic moment. The US$800 million OSIRIS-REx mission was launched in September 2016 and arrived in Bennu in December 2018. The main goal of the mission is to deliver at least 2.1 ounces (60 grams) of raw Bennu material to the earth. That will happen on September 24, 2023, when the return capsule landed in the Utah desert.

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All indications , The probe collected enough materials during the exercise on Tuesday, including OSIRIS-REx’s TAGSAM “kiss” Bennu for six seconds. University of Arizona task leader investigator Dante Lauretta said that his head sank deep into Bennu , May be as deep as 19 inches (48 cm) below the ground. The photos taken by the spacecraft showed that the sampling head was stuck with the material, which indicated that OSIRIS-REx was stuck with at least hundreds of Bennu drill bits. But these photos also show that the particle cloud overflowing from the TAGSAM head passed through the small rocks through the gap and prevented the Mylar valve of the sampler from closing completely. When OSIRIS-REx moved TAGSAM nearby to view the collected samples, the jailbreak became more intense.

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He and He His colleagues originally planned to weigh the samples on October 24, which may require rotating the OSIRIS-REx a bit. However, this action will undoubtedly release more asteroid particles, so mission team members now plan to directly record samples. Laureta said that skipping the weighing step will not cause much loss. The challenge before us is that TAGSAM may indeed be full of materials. He added that the current priority is to”store the sample safely and minimize the loss. It is difficult to quantify how much material was lost. Due to recent photography activities, up to 10 grams of Bennu sample flew to the chicken coop and was in storage operation.”A few grams to tens of grams” may be lost during this period. If these numbers are correct and OSIRIS-REx did capture hundreds of grams of material on Tuesday, the task is going well.

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Laureta said that the samples cannot be stored immediately. The team first needs Complete and verify updated storage plans, such as taking into account leaked asteroid particles. The mission must also ensure a long continuous time on NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN), which is used by the agency to communicate with distant spacecraft Radio antennas around the world. Lauretta explained that sample stowage will be a time-consuming and time-consuming process, with frequent back and forth between OSIRIS-REx and the ground. Despite these complexities, Lauretta said that the task force is progressing. I am happy and excited. We cannot conduct a better sample collection experiment.

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These particles are escaping because we are almost the victims of our own success. OSIRIS-REx has been retreating Bennu and will not pounce on the asteroid again. Suppose the sample is below Zhou is successfully stored, and the next important milestone will be in early March, when OSIRIS-REx leaves Bennu and begins to return to Earth. The trip will be relatively smooth until September 2023, when the return capsule landed on Earth. Then, the asteroid rock And dirt will enter laboratories around the world, where scientists can study them to find clues about the early stages of the solar system and the role that carbon-rich space rocks like Bennu might play in helping life start on Earth .


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