|1-What is OSIRIS-REx?|
|2-What is Bennu Asteroid?|
|3- Reason of sending it to Bennu|
|4-Asteroid sample canister opened in the lab for the first time|
|5-Why does Nasa want to study this asteroid?|
NASA’s OSIRIS Rex – the unmanned spacecraft returned with a sample of asteroid Bennu after the successful completion of its journey of seven years and has now been sent to the lab for examination.
NASA had sent this mission in 2016 with the hope of getting samples from the asteroid.
The sample is the largest ever being brought back to the earth and is now being studied by the scientists to know more on the origin of earth.
What is OSIRIS REX?
OSIRIS REX – The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer is an unmanned spacecraft which was launched from Florida on September 8 , 2016. The spacecraft reached the asteroid in 2018.
The spacecraft contained Cameras which captured images of the asteroid. It also contained materials to develop a 3D map of the asteroid to measure its temperature and to record its mineral and chemical composition.
The robotic arm of the spacecraft used to collect the loose rocks and dirt from the asteroid’s surface.
The samples were sealed inside the sample return capsule. The capsule then got detached and started its journey back to the earth.
What is Bennu Asteroid?
The asteroid Bennu which was previously known as 1999 RQ36 was first identified in 1999 as a near earth object as it passes near our earth every 6 years. This asteroid is not dangerous as scientists had ruled out the possibility of viruses being attached to it. So it is safe to bring it back to the earth.
But the scientists have estimated that due to these close approaches the asteroid has a chance of impacting the earth in Sept 24, 2182.
Reason of sending OSIRIS REx to Bennu :
The spacecraft was sent to Bennu to study the impact of Near earth objects and the risk they could pose to the earth.
Scientists also wished to identify the signs of water on the asteroid and if hydrogen and oxygen can be extra extracted from the asteroid to be used as rocket fuel.
The spacecraft will be renamed as OSIRIS Apex and will be sent to another asteroid Apophis to study it when it comes near the earth in 2029.
Asteroid sample canister Opened in Lab for the first time
OSIRIS-REx’s asteroid-sample canister was opened for the first time in lab at NASA’s Johnson Space Center JSC in Houston. The canister contained dark powder and sand sized particles on the inside. Scientists are excited to study the asteroid sample which would reveal more on the origin of life on earth.
Why does NASA want to study this asteroid?
NASA wishes to study this asteroid as it can provide insights into the formation of the Solar system and how life started on earth.