NASA’s Space Capsule Set to Deliver Largest Asteroid Sample in History
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WASHINGTON – After a remarkable seven-year journey, NASA’s space capsule is poised to make its final descent on the 24th, as it touches down in the Utah desert, USA, heralding the return of the largest asteroid sample ever collected.
Scientists are filled with anticipation as they believe this sample will unlock profound insights into the formation of our solar system and shed light on how Earth became capable of sustaining life.
The daring touchdown of the “Osiris-Rex” spacecraft’s released capsule through our planet’s atmosphere is expected to face scorching temperatures. While its landing poses significant risks, NASA remains hopeful for a smooth touchdown at the military test site in northwestern Utah, scheduled for 9 am local time (15:00 GMT).
Launched in 2016, Osiris embarked on a four-year journey, ultimately gathering approximately 250 grams of dust samples from the rocky surface of the asteroid Bennu.
“Even this seemingly small sample should provide invaluable insights into the types of asteroids that pose a threat to Earth, as well as unveil the earliest chapters in the history of our solar system,” shared NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
Amy Simon, a renowned NASA scientist, emphasized, “This particular sample holds historical significance as it represents the largest material collected since the Apollo missions brought back moon rocks.”
Nevertheless, Simon conceded that the safe return of the space capsule to Earth necessitates a series of complex and risky operations.
Precisely four hours before landing, Osiris will release the capsule from an altitude surpassing 108,000 kilometers. The final crucial phase, lasting a mere 13 minutes, will subject the capsule to speeds exceeding 27,000 miles per hour (about 43,452 kilometers), accompanied by scorching temperatures of up to 2,760 degrees Celsius.
If it appears that the designated landing zone might be missed, NASA authorities retain the authority to make a last-minute decision to withhold the release of the capsule.
Should the plan be executed successfully, the space probe, Osiris, will set its sights on exploring another asteroid, while safely safeguarding the precious sample. Scientists must patiently await their next opportunity to attempt a landing, which is not expected until 2025.
This groundbreaking endeavor signifies a monumental milestone in space exploration, propelling humanity’s understanding of the cosmos to unprecedented heights.
(AFP, Washington, 23rd) The seven-year journey of NASA’s space capsule will reach its final peak on the 24th, as it will land in the Utah desert, USA, and bring back to Earth the largest asteroid sample in history .
Scientists have high hopes for the sample, which they believe will help us understand more about the formation of the solar system and how the Earth became habitable.
The capsule released by the “Osiris-Rex” spacecraft will face scorching temperatures as it makes its final descent through the Earth’s atmosphere. It will be very dangerous, but NASA hopes it will be able to make a soft landing at the military test site. in northwestern Utah around 9 am local time (15:00 GMT).
Osiris was launched in 2016. Four years later, it collected around 250 grams of dust samples from the rocky surface of the asteroid Bennu.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said that even such a small sample “should help us better understand the types of asteroids that can threaten Earth” and uncover “the earliest history of the solar system.”
“The sample brought back this time is of historical significance because it is the largest sample we have brought back to Earth since the moon rocks were obtained by the Apollo missions,” said the NASA scientist Amy Simon told AFP.
But he also admitted that returning the space capsule to Earth would require “dangerous operations.”
Osiris plans to release the capsule from an altitude of more than 108,000 kilometers four hours before landing.
The hot phase of the journey through the atmosphere will only occur in the last 13 minutes, when the capsule will hurtle down at more than 27,000 miles per hour (about 43,452 kilometers), with temperatures reaching as high as 2,760 degrees Celsius.
Military sensors will monitor his rapid descent, and then he will open two parachutes to slow down. If there is a problem with the parachutes, a “hard landing” will occur.
If it is discovered that it could miss the target landing zone, NASA management may decide at the last minute not to release the capsule.
The space probe will retain the sample and orbit the sun again, and scientists will have to wait until 2025 to try to land the sample again.
If the plan succeeds, Osiris will go to another asteroid.
The largest asteroid sample in history is expected to be delivered to Earth on the 24th
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