NASA’s probe on its way back to Earth

Way back down to earth

This illustration provided by NASA shows NASA’s “Osiris Rex” probe on the asteroid Bennu. Photo: Uncredited / NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center / AP / dpa

(Photo: dpa)

«Osiris Rex» The US space agency NASA announced that the probe has left Bennu orbit. In October, the “Osiris Rex” sample took from the asteroid during a complex maneuver that lasted several hours – the first American rocket in space history. The probe is now expected to deliver this sample to Earth in September 2023.

NASA researchers do not yet know exactly how many grams of dust and debris from the asteroid the sample contained. Collapse occurred during maneuver: The lid of the collecting container was opened slightly by larger stones so that parts of the sample could escape. However, NASA scientists assume that the minimum requirement of 60 grams of dust and debris is met – and more may be in the collection container.

In September 2023, the “Osiris Rex” is supposed to drop the specimen above the ground, where it is supposed to land in Utah with the help of parachutes. NASA employees will then take the sample to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, and from there distribute parts of it to labs around the world where it can be examined.

“Osiris Rex” (Abbreviation: Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer) was launched from Cape Canaveral spaceport in September 2016 and arrived in Benno about two years later. Since then, the probe, which is about six meters long and weighs 2,100 kilograms, has orbited the asteroid and examined it with its scientific instruments and cameras. She flew several times near him.

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The dark black Bennu, named after an ancient Egyptian god, is about 550 meters in diameter and could come very close to Earth within 150 years. Even if the collision risk is very low, NASA Bennu is one of the most dangerous asteroids currently known – and therefore it wants to search for it very carefully.

In addition, scientists hope that the mission, which cost about a billion dollars, will provide information about the formation of the solar system more than 4.5 billion years ago, because asteroids are remnants of it.

Information from NASA on the Osiris-Rex

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