OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to asteroid 101955 Bennu today

This video from the USA says about itself:

OSIRIS-REx Tech – Surveying an Asteroid with Light

25 July 2016

NASA‘s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is on a mission explore to near-Earth asteroid Bennu, a carbon-rich body that may contain clues to the origins of life. OSIRIS-REx is equipped with a suite of technologies designed to map and study Bennu in unprecedented detail. The OSIRIS-REx Visible and Infrared Spectrometer, or OVIRS, will look at the asteroid’s spectral signature to detect organics and other minerals. After OSIRIS-REx has thoroughly surveyed Bennu from orbit, will descend to the surface and collect a sample of the asteroid for return to Earth in 2023. In this video, OVIRS instrument scientists Dennis Reuter and Amy Simon discuss the challenges and rewards of sending a spectrometer into deep space.

Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Dan Gallagher

From Science News in the USA:

OSIRIS-REx spacecraft launches tonight for mission to grab asteroid sample

by Christopher Crockett

6:00am, September 8, 2016

A spacecraft destined to bring samples of an asteroid back to Earth is scheduled to launch tonight. NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission will launch September 8 at 7:05 p.m. EDT atop an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force station in Florida. The probe will head for 101955 Bennu, a roughly 500-meter-wide asteroid whose 1.2-year orbit intersects that of Earth. Once the spacecraft arrives in late 2018, it will spend more than a year mapping the asteroid before reaching out and grabbing a sample in July 2020.

By bringing an asteroid sample to Earth, planetary scientists hope to learn more about the early solar system, what resources are available for future space explorers and how to knock off course any asteroids that pose a risk to Earth. Bennu itself has about a 1 in 2,700 chance of striking Earth late in the 22nd century.

To get a piece of Bennu, OSIRIS-REx will descend toward the surface and extend a robotic arm that will contact the surface for about 5 seconds. A puff of nitrogen gas will stir up rocks and soil, some of which will be collected in a container. The sample will be placed in a capsule for the ride home.

OSIRIS-REx will leave Bennu no earlier than March 2021. As it passes Earth in September 2023, the spacecraft will jettison its cargo, dropping the capsule in the Utah desert.

OSIRIS-REx snaps first images of asteroid Bennu. The NASA probe will pick up a sample from the asteroid and return it to Earth, by Lisa Grossman. 5:12pm, August 24, 2018

7 thoughts on “OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to asteroid 101955 Bennu today

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