NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is set to land in the Utah desert on the 24th after a seven-year journey, bringing back the largest asteroid sample ever collected. This sample is highly anticipated by scientists, as it will provide crucial insights into the formation of the solar system and the habitability of Earth.
The capsule released by the spacecraft will face extreme temperatures as it descends through the Earth’s atmosphere. NASA is hopeful for a successful soft landing at a military test site in northwestern Utah around 9 am local time (15:00 GMT), despite the dangers involved.
Launched in 2016, OSIRIS-REx has collected approximately 250 grams of dust samples from the rocky surface of the asteroid Bennu. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson states that even this small sample will enhance our understanding of potentially hazardous asteroids and uncover the earliest history of the solar system.
The significance of this sample is highlighted by NASA scientist Amy Simon, who compares it to the moon rocks obtained during the Apollo missions. However, the return of the space capsule to Earth will require risky operations.
Four hours before landing, the capsule will be released from an altitude of over 108,000 kilometers. The final phase of the descent will occur in the last 13 minutes, with the capsule hurtling down at speeds exceeding 27,000 miles per hour (about 43,452 kilometers) and temperatures reaching up to 2,760 degrees Celsius.
Military sensors will closely monitor the rapid descent, and two parachutes will be deployed to slow down the capsule. In the event of parachute failure, a “hard landing” may occur. If it appears that the capsule could miss its intended landing zone, NASA management may decide to cancel the release at the last minute.
If the mission succeeds, OSIRIS-REx will orbit the sun again, and scientists will have to wait until 2025 for another attempt to land a sample. In the meantime, the space probe will continue its journey to explore another asteroid.
Ultimately, this historic mission has the potential to significantly advance our understanding of the solar system’s origins and improve our ability to predict and mitigate potential asteroid threats.
Pictured is the asteroid Bennu, which includes 12 PolyCam images collected by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft on December 2, 2018, from a range of 15 miles. (Photo Reuters)
USANASAonespaceThe capsule’s seven-year journey will reach its final peak on the 24th as it lands in the USUtahdesert and brought back to Earth the largest asteroid sample ever produced.
Agence France-Presse reports that scientists have high hopes for this sample, saying it will help us understand more about the formation of the solar system and how 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.
NASA Space Utah
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