New Images Show NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Stirring up Rocks on an Asteroid

  • AUTHOR: dua
  • POSTED ON: October 23, 2020

Yesterday, NASA shared
stunning images of its OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft which touched down an
asteroid. The images reveal how the vehicle ended up stirring the debris and rocks on the surface of the object when they came into contact. The aim of the
tap was to gather the sample material from the asteroid; however, the
engineers controlling the spacecraft said that they weren’t convinced if they
collected anything. When they spun their vehicle and measured the material
inside, they found that the mission was indeed successful.

Dante Lauretta, primary
investigator of OSIRIS-RE at the University of Arizona said that “Bottom line is from analysis of the images
that we’ve gotten down so far, is that the sampling event went really well, as
good as we could have imagined it would. 
And I think the chances that there’s the material inside… have gone way up based on the analysis of the images.”

The images have also
shown how OSIRIS-Rex collected the asteroid dirt from the asteroid itself. It
is now named Bennu. The pictures showcase the end of the OSIRIS-Rex robotic arm
wide open and gently putting pressure on Bennu’s surface as per the real-time data.

were in contact with the surface for about six seconds, and our collection time
about five seconds.”
– said Sandy Freund, who is the OSIRIS-Rex’s mission support manager at the Lock head Martin during the press

Apparently, when the
machine’s arm touched Bennu, nitrogen gas was whiffed off, causing the pebbles and rocks on the asteroid to sort of twirl around and dance in frenzy.

On Saturday, the
engineers will send the OSIRIS-Rex out for a spin with the same tactics to
measure the inertia of the vehicle. Next, they’ll make a comparison of the
measurements but without the sample arm. This difference would be able to tell
us how much material the vehicle was able to grab on Tuesday.

Once the vehicle is
able to grab at least 60 grams, the team will make
preparations to leave Bennu and come back home.


Updated October 23, 2020
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