In 2020 OSIRIS-REx It became the first NASA probe to land on an asteroid. He studied remotely for two years. asteroid Bennu, an excellent candidate for your study because it formed during the birth of our solar system. No doubt, images taken as the probe orbited the asteroid could provide a lot of information, but they were also important to collect. samples of its surface therefore they can be studied on Earth. This was finally achieved in 2020, after his landing. However, it took another three years for these samples to reach Earth. Finally, the capsule they were in landed safely on Utah desert.

The landing was not easy. As NASA already suggested on its website, OSIRIS-REx undertook a rapid descent until it was in orbit. 102,000 kilometers of earth’s surface. At that moment, he released a capsule containing 250 grams of material extracted from Bennu, but the probe with it did not land. In fact, this was the starting point for its processing into a new mission, since 20 minutes after the capsule was released, the engines were activated, delivering the probe to the asteroid. Apophis. This is how the mission begins OSIRIS-APEX.

As for the capsule, after quickly passing through the Earth’s atmosphere, they were wrapped in film. fire ball. But it was already planned, so heat shield is responsible for protecting its contents from high temperatures. All that remained was to remove the parachutes, which delivered them to their destination at a speed of 18 kilometers per hour, which many are already calling a time capsule. And not for less money; Well, thanks to OSIRIS-REx, we can now know much more about the early days of our planetary system.

OSIRIS-REx milestones

OSIRIS-REx was the first NASA probe to land on an asteroid and return samples recovered from its surface to Earth. Only the Japanese Space Agency, JAXAachieved something similar after Hayabusa 2 landed on the Ryugu asteroid.

But it’s still an important milestone worth highlighting. Moreover, he is not the only one, since the Hayabusa capsule managed to capture only 5.4 grams of Ryugu material, while the OSIRIS-Rex capsule delivered to Earth a quarter of a kilo from Bennu.

So what now?

With them 500 meters in diameterBennu is one of the asteroids known as primordial rocks. This is because it may have been ejected during the birth of the solar system.

Therefore it is considered time capsule, the study of which can reveal many interesting facts about the dawn of our planetary system. Knowing Bennu could help NASA scientists better understand even how our own planet formed.

At 250 grams of material, there is a lot to explore in depth. But the icing on the cake might not be the retirement of OSIRIS-REx. has already become OSIRIS-APEXis heading towards the asteroid Apophis, into whose orbit will arrive in 2029.

So this NASA probe still has a lot to teach us. Apophis is an interesting asteroid because it has been studied very closely for a possible impact with Earth. In fact, the first calculations of its trajectory predicted a possible collision with our planet in 2029. This hypothesis was eventually rejected and placed later. in 2036. However, the likelihood of impact is extremely low.

There doesn’t seem to be much to fear, but learning more about this asteroid could be interesting for many reasons. While the Bennu material is being analyzed on Earth, OSIRIS will be closely studying Apophis. He still has a lot of work to do before he retires.

Source: Hiper Textual

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