Friday January 24, 2020
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
US shutdown delays space missions but NASA not grounded: Report,

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

Space Rock Twice the Size of Big Ben to Skim Past Earth: NASA

"These asteroids have been well observed and their orbits are very well known," said NASA's Planetary Defence Officer Lindley Johnson

0
University of Iowa, Radiation, Sun
FILE - Tourists take pictures of a NASA sign at the Kennedy Space Center visitors complex in Cape Canaveral, Florida, April 14, 2010. VOA

NASA is closely monitoring an asteroid with an estimated diameter of about 755 feet — larger than the Golden Gate Bridge tower or more than twice the height of London’s Big Ben — that is currently heading towards Earth and is expected to skim past the planet on Monday.

Flying towards the planet at a speed of over 61,500 miles per hour, the Near-Earth Object (NEO) is big enough to destroy an entire city if collides with the Earth.

The approaching asteroid has been identified as “2020 AQ1”.

According to Express.co.uk, the asteroid will make its closest Earth approach on January 20 at around 2.54 am EST (1.24 pm India time).

The European Space Agency (ESA) has identified 21,655 NEO asteroids and 109 NEO comets.

NASA
Earth’s view from moon’s surface. Pixabay

The asteroid will hurtle past the planet on what astronomers have described as a “close approach” trajectory.

NASA’s trackers estimate the rock measures somewhere in the range of 328 feet -754 feet across – more than twice the height of London’s Big Ben.

Last September, a pair of asteroids flew past the Earth.

Also Read: Malaysia on Track to Roll out 5G Service Commercially: President Mahathir Mohamad

“These asteroids have been well observed and their orbits are very well known,” said NASA’s Planetary Defence Officer Lindley Johnson.

“Both of these asteroids are passing at about 14 lunar distances from the Earth, or about 3.5 million miles away, but small asteroids pass by Earth this close all the time,” he added. (IANS)