Thursday January 17, 2019
Home Lead Story NASA’s ...

NASA’s Asteroid Sampling Probe Captures Image of Earth

During the summer of 2020, the spacecraft will briefly touch the surface of Bennu to retrieve a sample

0
//
NASA, tissue
The stellar debris, approaching and swirling around the object's event horizon, caused the remarkably bright glow. Flcikr

NASA’s first asteroid-sampling mission OSIRIS-REx has captured an incredible image of the Earth, the media reported.

The image was captured on December 19, 2018, days before Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) went into orbit around Bennu on New Year’s Eve, the Daily Mail reported.

Bennu is the smallest ever celestial body to be orbited by a spacecraft.

The picture shows the asteroid Bennu, top right, about 43 kilometres from the spacecraft, and the Earth and moon, bottom left, more than 110 million kilometres away.

The tiny asteroid — barely 500 meters across — appears as a big bright blob in the long-exposure photo released last week, the report said.

Launched from Florida in 2016, OSIRIS-REx spacecraft reached Bennu on December 3, 2018 after travelling more than one billion miles through space. The spacecraft will spend almost a year surveying the space rock from orbit.

On January 1, 2019, the spacecraft, 110 million kilometres away, carried out a single, eight-second burn of its thrusters. Now, it will circle Bennu about 1.75 kilometres from its centre, closer than any other spacecraft has come to its celestial object of study.

NASA, Hubble, Keplar, asteroids
The OSIRIS-REx mission is scheduled to deliver the sample to Earth in September 2023. Flickr

Previously, the closest orbit of a planetary body was in May 2016, when the Rosetta spacecraft orbited about seven kilometres from the centre of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

The spacecraft is scheduled to orbit Bennu through mid-February at a leisurely 62 hours per orbit.

The OSIRIS-REx team will resume science operations in late February.

Also Read- Xiaomi Unveils Two New Smart Tvs, Mi Soundbar

At that point, the spacecraft will perform a series of close flybys of Bennu for several months to take high-resolution images of every square inch of the asteroid to help select a sampling site.

During the summer of 2020, the spacecraft will briefly touch the surface of Bennu to retrieve a sample.

The OSIRIS-REx mission is scheduled to deliver the sample to Earth in September 2023. (IANS)

Next Story

SpaceX’s Dragon Spacecraft Expected To Land on Earth on Monday

The next Dragon mission to the space station will be its first uncrewed demonstration mission designated SpaceX DM-1

0
SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft to reach Earth on Monday.

After spending over a month in the orbit, SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft left the International Space Station (ISS) on Sunday and is expected to land on Earth on Monday night, NASA said.

“The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft was released from the ISS today at 6.33 p.m.,” NASA said in a statement on Sunday.

“Dragon will parachute to a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean Monday at 12:15 a.m. then will be towed to port in southern California by a SpaceX personnel,” it added.

This will be the first night–time splashdown and recovery for the Dragon with plenty of moonlight to track its entry, NASA said.

Astronaut Anne McClain onboard the ISS monitored the activities from the cupola and watched Dragon perform a series of departure burns as it separated itself to a safe distance from the orbital lab. Integrated operations between mission controllers in Houston and SpaceX controllers in California stop when Dragon reaches a point about 1 km away from the station.

SpaceX
A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket lifts off from historic launch pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. VOA

The commercial cargo vessel will bring home a variety of critical space research, including ISS hardware to extracted for analysis, refurbishment or discarding, NASA said.

Dragon was launched on ISS on December 8 with more than 5,600 pounds of science and supplies. The spacecraft completed a 36-day mission attached to the station’s Harmony module.

Also Read- Media Coverage During Bangladesh’s Election Disappoints People

The next Dragon mission to the space station will be its first uncrewed demonstration mission designated SpaceX DM-1.

The Commercial Crew Program’s first launch is currently targeted for February and will demonstrate ground systems, orbit to docking activities and landing operations. (IANS)