NASA’s OSIRIS-REx probe carried out one final trajectory-correcting maneuver on Sunday (Sept. 17) to arrange the Sept. 24 arrival of its asteroid pattern right here on Earth.
OSIRIS-REx fired its thrusters briefly on Sunday, altering the probe’s velocity by 7 inches (17.8 centimeters) per minute, NASA mentioned.
“This remaining correction maneuver moved the pattern capsule’s predicted touchdown location east by practically 8 miles, or 12.5 kilometers, to the middle of its predetermined touchdown zone inside a 36-mile by 8.5-mile (58-kilometer by 14-kilometer) space on the Protection Division’s Utah Check and Coaching Vary,” company officers wrote in an replace immediately (Sept. 19).
Sunday’s engine burn was a tweak of an important Sept. 10 maneuver that set OSIRIS-REx on the correct course for capsule launch on Sept. 24, which is able to happen about 63,000 miles (102,000 km) above Earth, NASA officers added. The probe is at present about 1.8 million miles (2.8 million km) from our planet, heading towards us at roughly 14,000 mph (23,000 kph).
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The $1 billion OSIRIS-REx mission launched in September 2016 and headed towards Bennu, a 1,650-foot-wide (500 meters) probably hazardous near-Earth asteroid.
OSIRIS-REx reached the area rock in December 2018, then studied it from orbit for practically two years. On Oct. 20, 2020, the probe swooped down and snagged about 8.8 ounces (250 grams) of fabric from Bennu’s surprisingly spongy floor.
This valuable cargo is about to return to Earth inside OSIRIS-REx’s return capsule, which is scheduled to the touch down in Utah shortly earlier than 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT) on Sunday. You may watch the motion dwell right here at House.com, courtesy of NASA TV.
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After landing, OSIRIS-REx’s pattern will make its method to NASA’s Johnson House Middle (JSC) in Houston, the place the fabric can be curated and saved.
JSC will finally ship among the asteroid filth and gravel to scientists all over the world, who will examine it for clues concerning the early days of the photo voltaic system and the position that carbon-rich asteroids like Bennu could have performed in life’s emergence on Earth. Researchers suppose that such area rocks seeded our planet with organics, the carbon-containing constructing blocks of life, through long-ago impacts.
The principle OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will carry on flying after its return capsule comes right down to Earth. The probe will head towards one other probably hazardous asteroid, the infamous Apophis, on an prolonged mission referred to as OSIRIS-APEX. The probe will attain Apophis in 2029.