Bennu, a well-preserved ancient asteroid, is located more than 321 million kilometers from the earth. This is equivalent to 200 million miles away from the earth’s surface. Scientists have largely used Bennu in their early research of the solar system. The Asteroid is believed to have been taking shape millions of years ago, and it flung ingredients that could have been of help to seed life on earth.
Hopefully, Tuesday’s sample collection event referred to as touch and go was successful; the mission control team is believed to give the spacecraft commends to start its journey back to earth in March 2021. In case of any failure, they will be forced to prepare for yet another attempt come January 2021.
This is one of the amazing projects of NASA that demonstrates how the incredible team came together and was able to persevere through all the challenges they came across to expand their knowledge boundaries. They claimed that their industry, international and academic partners had worked together, making it possible to hold the piece of the oldest part of the solar system in their hands.
It was recorded that at 1.50 p.m. EDT, the famous OSIRIS-Rex fired its thrusters to nudge itself out of the orbit area of the Bennu asteroid. After making a four-hour descent, the spacecraft conducted some checkpoint burn in its first two maneuvers to allow it to be in a position to target sample collection site, which is known as the Nightingale.
The spacecraft fired thrusters for the second match point after ten minutes, which helped it slow the descent speed, ensuring that it matches that of the rotating steroid at its time of contact. It then went ahead and made some treacherous recorded on 11 minutes towards the coast, which was just past a block that is approximately the size of two-story building named as mount doom. This enabled the spacecraft to touch down on a clear surface on a crater on the northern hemisphere of the Bennu asteroid.
The team has shown its joy and achievement after over a decade of planning and finally succeeding in their sampling attempt. All the elementary data collected by the spacecraft was executed as per their expectations. However, they shall wait for a period of close to one week for them to confirm the exact amount of sample collected by the spacecraft.