NASA units date to analysis asteroid Bennu after coronavirus pandemic triggered delays

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After getting delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, NASA has lastly picked out a date to analysis samples of the asteroid Bennu.

The house company mentioned that it now expects the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to start its first try at sampling the asteroid on Oct. 20. The preliminary date was Aug. 25, however that was pushed again due to the pandemic. The second rehearsal, which was initially scheduled for June, will now happen on Aug. 11.

“The OSIRIS-REx mission has been demonstrating the very essence of exploration by persevering by way of surprising challenges,” Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s affiliate administrator for science, mentioned in a press release earlier this week. “That spirit has led them to the cusp of the prize all of us are ready for — securing a pattern of an asteroid to carry dwelling to Earth, and I am very excited to observe them by way of the house stretch.”

This is a mosaic image of asteroid Bennu, from NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft.

It is a mosaic picture of asteroid Bennu, from NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft.
(Credit: NASA/Goddard/College of Arizona)


Since arriving on the asteroid in December 2018, OSIRIS-REx (which stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Useful resource Identification and Safety Regolith Explorer) has been observing the house rock and searching for spots to land.

It has snapped some unimaginable pictures of the asteroid and made observations about it which have shocked researchers, together with the very fact it was taking pictures out rocks.

“This mission’s unimaginable efficiency up to now is a testomony to the extraordinary talent and dedication of the OSIRIS-REx workforce,” mentioned Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator on the College of Arizona, Tucson. “I’m assured that even within the face of the present problem, this workforce will likely be profitable in amassing our pattern from Bennu.”

This illustration shows NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft descending towards asteroid Bennu to collect a sample of the asteroid’s surface. Credits: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

This illustration reveals NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft descending in direction of asteroid Bennu to gather a pattern of the asteroid’s floor. Credit: NASA/Goddard/College of Arizona

In December 2019, previous to the pandemic, NASA picked the spot the place it will land on the asteroid.

OSIRIS-REx is anticipated to start a two-year journey again to Earth in the midst of 2021 and return with samples in September 2023.


Fox Information’ James Rogers contributed to this story.

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