Scientists last month revealed the touch and landing of NASA’s Osiris-Rex spacecraft on asteroids, revealing new insights into the structure of loose rocks covering the surfaces of many small planetary bodies – a bed of material similar to a playground ball pit than solid.
As it flew 200 million miles (330 million kilometers) from Earth to an airless world on Oct. 20, the structure of the outer layer of the asteroid was clearly visible in the images captured by the OSIRIRS-Rex spacecraft.
The next day, NASA released images from a narrow-angle camera aimed at the spacecraft’s 11 – foot (3.4 m) robotic arm. At the end of the arm a dinner plate-sized sample collection device fired compressed nitrogen gas, which, when in contact with the asteroid surface of the asteroid Pennu, measured one-third the diameter of a small planetary body a mile.
The emission of nitrogen gas helped to force the asteroid samples into the collection chamber. After six seconds on the surface of the asteroid, the OSIRIRS-Rex threw the impetus to retreat from the pen.
The scientists then obtained close-up images of the sample collection head, which shows it being strangled by objects scooped up from the asteroid’s surface. Some asteroid particles were escaping from the collection chamber, prompting managers to order the spacecraft to stack the sample head faster than expected into its Earth-returning capsule, minimizing sample loss.
Sample device to the return capsule of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft Oct. Sealed within 28.
Late last week, authorities released another series of images taken during the spacecraft’s touchdown and landing. These were captured by a wide-angle navigation camera on the OSIRIS-REx.
According to the OSIRIS-REx scientific team, the navigation camera – or Navcom – captured the images within about three hours. The lineup begins an hour after OSIRIS-REx made an orbital departure maneuver to begin its descent, and ends two minutes after burning behind the spacecraft, officials said.
OSIRIS-REx points a thin or rotating maneuver in the middle of the image sequence as it points its model hand towards the target model site on the asteroid Pennu named “Nightingale”.
“As the spacecraft approaches the Nightingale base, the shadow of the model’s hand appears in the lower part of the frame. After a while, the sample head is affected by the nightingale (out of sight of the camera in the upper right) and shoots a bottle of nitrogen gas, which accumulates a significant amount of material on the sample site, ”the OSIRIS-REx team wrote in a commentary on the Novcom images.
“After several seconds, the spacecraft is burning behind and the shadow of the model’s hands is visible against disturbed surface objects. The team continues to investigate what caused the very dark areas in the upper and middle parts of the frame,” the team wrote. “The upper part may be the edge of the depression created by the model’s hands, on the surface May be a strong shade or some combination of both with materials elevated from.
“Similarly, the middle dark area that first appears on the bottom left of the image may be the depression caused by one of the spacecraft’s triggers, a shadow caused by elevated objects, or a combination of both.”
The Lockheed Martin-built OSIRIRS-Rex spacecraft relied on black and white navigation camera images, autonomously guiding itself to a safe touchdown zone in Penn. The navigation algorithm compares the camera’s images with the map already mounted on the spacecraft’s computer and helps determine its location when compared to the OSIRIS-REx asteroid.
With its prototype preserved in the return capsule, Osiris-Rex is set to take off near the asteroid Pennu to begin its journey to Earth next year. The spacecraft will release the return capsule on September 24, 2023 for re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere and landing on the Utah test and training range.
NASA’s billion 1 billion origin, spectral interpretation, resource identification, security, Recolith Explorer mission was launched on September 8, 2016 from Cape Canaveral on the United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket. The primary goal of OSIRIS-REx is to send asteroid models back to Earth for detailed analysis by scientists, who hope to find clues about the origin of the solar system.
OSIRIRS-Rex must collect at least 60 grams or 2.1 ounces of asteroid material. Scientists say the spacecraft could collect more before it hits Oct. 20, and evidence suggests it may have snatched 2.2 pounds or 1 kilogram of asteroid samples, according to the university’s chief researcher Dante Loretta. Of Arizona.
Data from a brief touch on the asteroid indicate that the spacecraft’s robotic arm sank 19 inches (48 cm) above the smooth surface of the pen.
While waiting for the scientific payoff of this trip until the asteroid models return to Earth, Loretta said on Thursday that scientists are already learning about Pennu’s physical properties.
When the asteroid landed in December 2018, the spacecraft detected small particles flying from the pen. Those particles look like flat material leaking from Doxam’s head.
“It looks like a box of cornflakes in space,” Loretta said. “They come around in random motion. They often come from Doxam’s heads, but they collide with each other. They rotate. We can solve many of them.
“So this is an excellent imaging calibration data that has a better understanding of particle emission events and the particle pathways we observed during the entire encounter with the asteroid,” Loretta said. “Even though my heart was broken for the loss of the model, it turned out to be a pretty scientific experiment.”
OSIRIS-REx ‘contact with the asteroid surface on October 20 provided a rich database that suggests that the outer layer of the asteroid’s soil and rocks with low density are not highly synchronous. When the OSIRIS-REx approaches just 0.2 miles or 10 centimeters per second, the spacecraft’s robotic arm touches the asteroid, which is one-tenth the speed of a typical walking speed.
“When the Doxam leader contacted Regolith, it ran like a liquid,” Loretta said. “I think that’s what happens if an astronaut tries to walk on the surface of an asteroid. She sinks to her knees or deep – depending on how loose the soil is, until she hits a large boulder or some kind of bed.”
The “ground truth” data collected by OSIRIS-REx will help scientists revisit asteroid geography models, he said.
“The spectacular thing is that there was very little resistance to the spacecraft from the asteroid surface,” Loretta said. “Basically, it’s like a ball pit on a child’s playground. You jump into it and you drown.
“Fortunately, we had those back-triggers to change the direction of motion, or we could have flown all the way through the asteroid,” Loretta joked.
New measurements of asteroid density from OSIRIS-REx will help scientists fine-tune estimates of potential hazard risk to Earth. Scientists have calculated that 2,700 out of 1 are likely to hit Earth in the late 2100s.
Most asteroids are likely to burn up due to its asteroid in the Earth’s atmosphere.
“Thermal analysis shows that a large number of materials on the surface of the pen – especially the large black hammock rocks that are an integral part of the surface – appear to have material properties that are impenetrable to the atmosphere,” Loretta said. “They will be fragmented and most items will be lost.”
That is, the beautiful specimens collected from the pen are unlike any meteorite or asteroid fragments that fall to Earth and reach the surface intact.
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