A NASA spacecraft that recently collected rocks Asteroid More material was captured than expected. Says the American Space Agency Sample It was so big that it blocked the collector’s container door.
The Osiris-Rex spacecraft successfully completed Asteroid Sample activity on October 20th. Explorer’s robotic arm touched the asteroid Pennu for a few seconds to make dust and rock samples for collection. Pennu sits about 320 million kilometers from Earth.
The samples were then trapped in a device called the collection head. NASA discovered the device’s blocked door in images obtained from the spacecraft’s control team. Some asteroid objects were ejected back into space due to the blockage.
Because of this, NASA scientists decided to move the deadline to complete the next phase of the mission. This includes securing or storing the collection head Capsule Inside the spacecraft.
“Time Of essence, ”Thomas Surbuchen told reporters about the change in plans. He is the science administrator at NASA.
The stacking process is carried out in a series of steps. With each step, the spacecraft sends information and images back to Earth. Different members of the team watch the process to make sure things are progressing properly.
The spacecraft is so far away that it takes about 18 minutes for its signals to reach Earth. Any communication from ground controllers requires the same amount to reach Osiris-Rex. Due to this, the storage process was expected to take several days.
Scientists believe the operation captured up to 400 grams Asteroid object. NASA said it hopes to collect Osiris-Rex 60g.
But mission leaders said they did not know how much material was inside until the sample capsule returned to Earth. The team planned to carry out a process to measure the sample. But that plan was canceled because NASA said it could release even more material.
“I think we’ll have to wait until we get home to find out Precisely How much do we have, ”Osiris-Rex lead investigator Dante Loretta told reporters. “As you can imagine, it’s hard. … But the good news is, we’ll see a lot of things.”
The team members also considered making another collection effort. But the leak issue led NASA to decide against the project. “Very honestly, we couldn’t have done a better collection experiment,” Loretta said.
Osiris-Rex is expected to return to Earth in March 2021. The voyage takes two and a half years, with the spacecraft scheduled to arrive in September 2023.
This mission marked NASA’s first asteroid collection operation. There is only Japan Successfully captured Such a model.
Asteroids are among the remaining objects from the formation of the solar system about 4.5 billion years ago. NASA chose to collect a sample from Benz because it is believed to contain carbon-rich material Is protected Construction modules of our solar system.
According to scientists, asteroid models will help us better understand how the planets formed and how life began on Earth.
I am Brian Lynn.
Brian Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English based on reports from The Associated Press, Reuters, Agencies France-Press and NASA. Ashley Thompson was the teacher.
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Words in this story
Asteroid – My. Materials made of rock and metal orbit the sun, but are smaller than planets
Sample – My. A small amount gives you information about the subject from which it was taken
Capsule – n. Part of the spacecraft carrying people
Of essence – phr. Very important
Precisely – Adva. Exactly
To protect – V. Keep something identical or prevent it from being destroyed