The Osiris-Rex probe begins returning to Earth with samples of the asteroid on board

The device has just begun a long journey that has lasted more than two years and is set to end in September 2023 in the Utah desert. Asteroid Bennu will then be able to reveal its secrets.

The US probe, Osiris-Rex, finally left the orbit of the asteroid Bennu on Monday, May 10, from which it collected dust samples last year, to begin its journey to Earth. There’s still a long way to go: It won’t land in the US Utah Desert until September 24, 2023. The probe “He is now traveling at more than 950 km / h from Bennu, on the way home.”Mission Leader Dante Loretta said in a NASA video broadcast of the event.

The impellers of the machine were operated without incident for seven minutes in order to implement the thrust necessary to put the probe on the right track. The latter will cross Earth’s expedition after a final trip of 2.3 billion kilometers. Osiris Rex is back on board Over 60 grams Dust and asteroid fragments, the largest sample collected by NASA from moon rocks brought back by the Apollo missions.

To achieve this result, the US Space Agency carried out a high-risk operation in October 2020: the probe touched the Earth of the asteroid for a few seconds, and the dust was lifted by an explosion of nitrogen disk before it was captured. Surprise: The arm of the probe sank several centimeters into the surface of the asteroid, which scientists knew it was, in fact “Too little configuration”Dante Loretta said.

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Almost everything failed when NASA realized a few days later that the collector compartment valve had failed to close, allowing shrapnel to escape into space. But it finally ended up securing the charge, as it was transferred from the sensor arm to the center capsule.

In two and a half years, this capsule will be launched a few hours before it enters Earth’s atmosphere, and its speed will be slowed by the parachute system for its descent. The samples will then be transported to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, but 75% of them will remain. Taught by future generations with technologies yet to be establishedAccording to the agency. Their analysis should help scientists better understand the formation of the solar system and the evolution of Earth as a habitable planet.

Stan Shaw

<p class="sign">"Professional food nerd. Internet scholar. Typical bacon buff. Passionate creator."</p>

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