NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will revisit asteroid Bennu on April 7. During this last flyby, photos of the asteroid’s surface will be taken from a distance of just 3.7 km. Earlier on October 20, 2020, Spacecraft collected asteroid samples. Since then, the closest will now be Wednesday. Interestingly, this will be done because the asteroid’s surface was affected when the spacecraft took the samples.
Effect on asteroids
Indeed, during landing, the spacecraft’s sampling head penetrated 48.8 cm inside the asteroid’s surface, then released a pressurized charge of nitrogen gas. The spacecraft thrusters also moved the surface material in flight, but due to the asteroid’s low gravity, it made a big difference to the sampling site and the rocks and dust blew up.
The scientist will do an analysis
During this last flyby, the mission team will have a chance on the effect of the spaceship on the asteroid. After that, the data will reach Earth in a few days, in which the OSIRIS-REx team will analyze based on the images found. The performance of its scientific instruments will also be tested. The spacecraft will stay near Bennu until May 10. After that, there will be a journey back to earth in two years. As it approaches Earth, its sample return capsule will separate, which contains rock and dust. It will reach the earth with the help of parachutes through the earth’s atmosphere.
Back in September 2023
After its return, the capsule will be moved to the facilities of the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Here the samples will be taken and sent to different laboratories around the world where scientists will analyze them. With this help, one can get answers to many questions related to the formation of the solar system and the beginning of life on earth. NASA had reported that his return would be delayed for two months. He will return in September 2023.
Crafting on Asteroid Bennu