According to the NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission’s ground control, the asteroid-sampling spaceship’s commenced its science work yesterday, September 11th, 2018. NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft launched in September 2016 with the mission to study the 640-foot-wide near-Earth asteroid Bennu which will supposedly hit our planet somewhen during the next century.
“Big day for NASA’s OSIRIS-REx as we start our first science observations searching for dust plumes around Bennu,” stated on Twitter the mission’s principal investigator Dante Lauretta, Professor of planetary science at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory.
As the NASA’s scientists reported yesterday, comprehending the dust environment surrounding asteroid Bennu would keep the asteroid-sampling spacecraft safe as it’s getting closer to the space rock later this year.
More specifically, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx is set to reach Bennu on December 3rd, 2018, while it’s expected to settle on its orbit on December 31st.
NASA’s asteroid-sampling mission might give significant insight into the composition of the asteroid Bennu and similar space rocks
Once in asteroid Bennu’s orbit, OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security – Regolith Explorer) will study the space rock from there for a period. In the mid-2020, the NASA’s asteroid-sampling spacecraft will land on the space rock and take a soil sample.
If everything goes as scheduled, OSIRIS-REx will return the sample to Earth by the end of 2023.
First, the sample is expected to offer precious information on the early history of the solar system and the contribution the carbon-rich space rocks like asteroid Bennu had in bringing water and building blocks of life to our planet.
Secondly, the sample the NASA’s OSIRIS-REx will bring home will be equally crucial for asteroid mining industry as it will supposedly offer significant insight into the composition of the asteroid Bennu and similar space rocks.
Finally, this asteroid-sampling mission would also help scientists learn more about near-Earth potentially hazardous asteroids hoping to find out solutions to protect the Earth against them in case an asteroid is heading towards us on a collision trajectory.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.