Washington: After grappling with the rugged actuality of asteroid Bennu’s floor, NASA, the US area company, has lastly chosen 4 potential websites for its spacecraft to “tag” its cosmic dance accomplice.
Since its arrival in December 2018, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has mapped your complete asteroid so as to determine the most secure and most accessible spots for the spacecraft to gather a pattern.
These 4 websites now will probably be studied in additional element so as to choose the ultimate two websites — a main and backup — in December, NASA stated in a press release on Tuesday.
“We knew that Bennu would surprise us, so we came prepared for whatever we might find,” stated Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator on the College of Arizona, Tucson.
The 4 candidate pattern websites on Bennu are designated as Nightingale, Kingfisher, Osprey, and Sandpiper — all birds native to Egypt.
Since arriving at near-Earth asteroid Bennu, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission has been learning this small world of boulders, rocks, and free rubble — and on the lookout for a spot to the touch down.
The aim is to gather a pattern of Bennu in mid-2020, and return it to Earth in late 2023.
This fall, OSIRIS-REx will start detailed analyses of the 4 candidate websites throughout the mission’s reconnaissance part.
The second and third phases of reconnaissance will start in early 2020.
OSIRIS-REx pattern assortment is scheduled for the latter half of 2020, and the spacecraft will return the asteroid samples to Earth on September 24, 2023.