OSIRIS-REx Swoops Over Sample Site Nightingale on Asteroid Bennu

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On March 3, 2020, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft carried out a low-altitude overpass of siteNightingale During the pass, scientific research monitorings of asteroid Bennu happened from a range of about 820 feet (250 m)– the closest the spacecraft has actually ever before been to the asteroid’s surface area. The main objective of this overpass was to accumulate high-resolution images for the group to find the site’s ideal locations for accumulating a sample. Credit: University of Arizona

NASA’s initial asteroid-sampling spacecraft simply obtained its ideal appearance yet at asteroidBennu Yesterday, the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft carried out an extremely reduced overlook sample site Nightingale, taking monitorings from an elevation of 820 feet (250 m), which is the closest that OSIRIS-REx has actually flown over the asteroid up until now. Nightingale, OSIRIS-REx’s main sample collection site, lies within a crater in Bennu’s north hemisphere.

To do the 5-hour overpass, the spacecraft left its 0.6-mile (1-km) safe-home orbit as well as intended its scientific research tools towards the 52- feet (16- m) broad sample site. The scientific research monitorings from this pass are the closest taken of Bennu to day.

The primary objective of the other day’s reduced overpass was to accumulate high-resolution images of the site’s surface area product. The spacecraft’s sample collection system is developed to get tiny rocks much less than 0.8 inches (2 centimeters) in dimension, as well as the PolyCam photos from this reduced pass are really thorough, permitting the group to determine as well as find rocks of this dimension. Several of the spacecraft’s various other tools likewise took monitorings of the Nightingale site throughout the overpass occasion, consisting of the OSIRIS-REx Thermal Emissions Spectrometer (OTES), the OSIRIS-REx Visual as well as InfraRed Spectrometer (OVIRS), the OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter (OLA), as well as the MapCam shade imager.

After finishing the overpass, the spacecraft went back to orbit– however, for the very first time, OSIRIS-REx turned around the instructions of its safe-home orbit as well as is currently circling around Bennu clockwise (as watched from the Sun). This change in orbital instructions placed the spacecraft for its following close experience with the asteroid– its initial practice session for the sample collection occasion.

This springtime, the goal will certainly do 2 practice sessions to prepare for the sample collection occasion. The initial practice session, set up forApr 14, browses the spacecraft to 410 feet (125 m) over Bennu’s surface area. At this elevation, the spacecraft will certainly carry out the Checkpoint maneuver, developed to place the spacecraft on a descent trajectory towards the sample collection site on the surface area. The spacecraft will certainly quit its descent 10 mins later on at an elevation of about 164 feet (50 m) by performing a maneuver to pull back from the asteroid. The 2nd practice session, set up for June, complies with the exact same trajectory however takes the spacecraft to a reduced elevation of 164 feet (50 m), where it will certainly do the Matchpoint maneuver, developed to reduce the spacecraft’s descent price. Subsequent to this melt the spacecraft will certainly carry out a pull back maneuver in between 131 feet (40 m) as well as 82 feet (25 m) from Bennu’s surface area. The spacecraft will certainly venture completely to the asteroid’s surface area in late August, for its initial effort to accumulate a sample. During this occasion, OSIRIS-REx’s tasting system will certainly touch Bennu’s surface area as well as fire a fee of pressurized nitrogen to disrupt the surface area as well as accumulate its sample prior to the spacecraft pulls back.

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, supplies general goal administration, systems design, as well as the security as well as goal guarantee forOSIRIS-REx Dante Lauretta of the University of Arizona, Tucson, is the major detective, as well as the University of Arizona likewise leads the scientific research group as well as the goal’s scientific research monitoring preparation as well as information handling. Lockheed Martin Space in Denver developed the spacecraft as well as supplies trip procedures. Goddard as well as KinetX Aerospace are in charge of browsing the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. OSIRIS-REx is the 3rd goal in NASA’s New Frontiers Program, which is taken care of by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for the company’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

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