Osiris Rex leaves the asteroid Bennu and begins to return to Earth

Osiris Rex leaves the asteroid Bennu and begins to return to Earth

a space ship Osiris Rex Coming Home. After nearly five years in space, the ship is back, and with it Rock and dust samples For asteroid Benno. OSIRIS-REx started engines with full steam for seven minutes and covered a distance of approximately 300 million km at 17:23 (Brasilia time) on Monday (10).

This was the spacecraft’s most important maneuver since its arrival at Benno in 2018, according to it NASA. When the engines were started, the Osiris-Rex was pushed away from the asteroid at a speed of nearly 1,000 kilometers per hour. It would take two and a half years to reach the ground.

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The spacecraft will start the engines again to fly safely across Earth, and enter a path to orbit the sun within the orbit of Venus. There will be two revolutions around the star of the solar system. Only then will OSIRIS-REx arrive at TerraOn September 24, 2023.

Then, the capsule containing the Benno pieces will separate from the rest of the spacecraft and enter Earth’s atmosphere. The capsule is expected to parachute into the desert of the US state of Utah, where scientists will wait to retrieve it.

The many achievements of Osiris Rex have demonstrated the bold and innovative way in which exploration takes place in real time. The team accepted the challenge and now we have a key part of our solar system going back to Earth, where many generations of researchers can uncover its secrets. NASA.

Asteroid Benno. Photo: NASA / Disclosure

Bring samples from asteroid Safety on the ground is the most complex goal of a team of dozens of navigation engineers. To implement the long mission plan, the group made calculations and wrote codes to guide the spacecraft as to when and how to distance from Bennu. They have also planned maneuvers for OSIRIS-REx to keep the course back.

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The return date chosen was based on Benno’s alignment with Earth. Because even if Osiris Rex has a lot of fuel remaining, the team leading the mission on Earth wants to save enough, if possible, to extend the mission to another asteroid after samples are delivered. Feasibility will be verified in the summer of the northern hemisphere.

The spacecraft’s trajectory is mainly determined by the sun’s gravity. Sometimes, engineers make adjustments by burning the engine. One of these adjustments will be made a few weeks before entering the ground again, to precisely determine where the capsule has fallen with the samples.

There is still a workaround plan in the event that Osiris Rex fails to release the capsule. But that means a two-year delay, as it will have to be diverted from the ground and retried in 2025. The team carried out the mission’s most important operation recently, collecting more than 60 grams of soil from Benno’s surface.

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