June 18, 2021

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Une vue d’artiste d’Osiris-Rex prélevant des échantillons à la surface de l’astéroïde géocroiseur Bennu. La mission est désormais en route pour la Terre. © Goddard Space Flight Center, Nasa

Asteroid dust is on its way to a cargo Earth

The Osiris-Rex mission is not yet complete. After successfully collecting samples from Pennu near Earth, the craft is now on its way home. It is expected to drop its capsule above Earth in September 2023.

Back September 2016. From the publishing site Hat canaveral (USA), a Rocket Atlas began the investigation NASA Received baptism Osiris-Rex. From his real family name Origin-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Recolith Explorer. His goal: to study the asteroid NEO Known Astronomers Bring back its specimens to our earth under the name of Pennu.

This Monday, May 10, after almost five years of space and a lot of adventures, Osiris-Rex It operated its main engines at full speed for seven minutes. His most important maneuver since coming fromPennu near the earth In 2018. The engine was propelled at a speed of 1,000 km / h. Run his home planet. Attendance is expected … in two and a half years! September 24, 2023, to be exact.

Note that last October, Osiris-Rex collected samples Pennu surface. A real achievement! Especially since the discovery of mission conditions – the release of small rocks in space, such as a floor surrounded by rocks. – This forced the engineers to fully review their descent. Although this craft is located hundreds of millions of kilometers away from the earth. The valve of the collection box was then capricious. Refusing to close, the precious dust escapes into space.

Before returning the samples, there are already several lessons

The Osiris-Rex teams estimate that at least 400 grams, the size of the samples is finally placed in the dedicated capsule transported by the mission. Witnesses who cannot testify Formation of our solar system Our Earth is a habitable planet.

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When it returns to Earth – about 10,000 kilometers away anyway – the capsule will detach from the rest of the craft – if the operation fails, a recovery plan is planned for 2025 – and it will fall into the L ‘Atmosphere Of our planet. Osiris-Rex, meanwhile, is expected to slowly go inside and die on a trackAround the circular path Of Venus. If he does not have enough fuel to expand his mission to another asteroid. The possibilities of such a project should be announced this summer.

The return path will be determined first Gravity Of the sun. But engineers are already planning some changes. A few weeks before the capsule returned to Earth. To accurately target the location and angle of its output in the atmosphere. This is because too little input may cause the capsule to escape from the atmosphere. The gateway, which is very high, can be seen going up in smoke.

Meanwhile, the work of Osiris-Rex has already helped to confirm or refute some theories. Signs of carbon dioxide or ancient water found from the earth have also been verified. Is true Heat Asteroid radiation was transferred upside down to a smooth surface. “This work illustrates why we have to do science and research in so many ways. Closer to Earth and into space. Assumptions and models are nothing … assumptions and models.”, Concludes Heather Enos, the lead investigator on the Osiris-Rex team NASA News Release.

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