NASA yesterday shared astonishing photos of its OSIRIS-RES spacecraft touching an asteroid, which revealed how the vehicle shook rocks and debris on the object’s surface as it approached. Null’s goal was to collect a sample of material from the asteroid, but the engineers behind the spacecraft say they won’t be sure if they collect anything until this weekend, when they spin and measure the vehicle How much material is inside.
However, the OSIRIS-REx team is confident they got something. OSIRIS-REx Chief Investigator Dante Lauretta said, “The bottom line is from the analysis of the images that we have received so far, the sampling phenomenon has gone really well, as we could have imagined it.” University of Arizona, said during a press conference. “And I think there is a possibility that there is content inside … based on the analysis of the images has gone way.”
Images of the incident show how OSIRIS-REx caught some asteroid dirt from an asteroid named Bennu on Tuesday. The images reveal the end of the extroverted robot arm of OSIRIS-REx, which is tasked with gently pressing on the surface of the bean. “We were exposed to the surface for about six seconds and our collection time was about five seconds,” said Sandy Freund, a mission support manager for OSIRIS-REx at Lockheed Martin during the press conference. When it touched Bennu, the arm of the spacecraft released a group of nitrogen gas, which danced rocks and pebbles at the asteroid and spun into a frenzy. The hope is that the gas shot some of those rocks in the hand.
Now this is only a waiting game as the OSIRIS-REx team pores the data. On Saturday, engineers will send OSIRIS-REx in a spin, with samples taken out of hand to measure the inertia of the vehicle. They will then compare those measurements to how OSIRIS-REX first once again, without any sample in its hand. The difference between those measurements should give the team a better idea of how much cargo the vehicle caught on Tuesday.
And if OSIRIS-REX has caught enough – at least 60 grams – then the mission team will start preparing for the spacecraft to leave Benue next year and embark on a long journey home, returning its precious cargo It will take scientists here on Earth.