Washington: NASA on Tuesday stated its OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is able to carry out an early stow on October 27 of the big pattern it collected final week from the floor of the asteroid Bennu to guard and return as a lot of the pattern as attainable.
On October 22, the OSIRIS-REx mission group acquired photos that confirmed the spacecraft’s collector head overflowing with materials collected from Bennu’s floor — nicely over the 60-gram mission requirement.
The pictures confirmed that a few of these particles gave the impression to be slowly escaping from the gathering head, referred to as the Contact-And-Go Pattern Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM).
A mylar flap on the TAGSAM permits materials to simply enter the collector head, and will seal shut as soon as the particles move by means of.
Nevertheless, bigger rocks that didn’t totally move by means of the flap into the gathering head seem to have wedged this flap open, permitting bits of the pattern to leak out.
Now NASA’s Science Mission Directorate has given the mission group the go-ahead to expedite pattern stowage, initially scheduled for November 2, within the spacecraft’s Pattern Return Capsule (SRC) to minimise additional pattern loss.
“The abundance of material we collected from Bennu made it possible to expedite our decision to stow,” stated Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator on the College of Arizona, Tucson.
“The team is now working around the clock to accelerate the stowage timeline, so that we can protect as much of this material as possible for return to Earth.”
The mission anticipates your entire stowage course of will take a number of days, on the finish of which the pattern shall be safely sealed within the spacecraft’s Pattern Return Capsule for the spacecraft’s journey again to Earth.
The pattern is scheduled to be returned to Earth in 2023.
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