Washington, July 28 – NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is adjusting its course to get nearer to Earth, based on mission officers.
OSIRIS-REx, the primary US mission to gather a pattern from an asteroid, will return to Earth on September 24 with materials from asteroid Bennu.
Travelling at about or about 35,000 kilometres per hour, the spacecraft is at the moment 38.6 million kilometres from Earth.
Mission officers mentioned that on July 26, OSIRIS-REx fired its engines for about 63 seconds to barely thrust itself onto a course nearer to Earth. The trajectory correction manoeuvre is the ultimate adjustment wanted to arrange OSIRIS-REx to return to Earth.
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“Preliminary monitoring knowledge signifies OSIRIS-REx modified its velocity, which incorporates velocity and route, by 1.3 miles, or 2 kilometres, per hour. It’s a tiny however essential shift; with out course changes like this one the spacecraft wouldn’t get shut sufficient to Earth on September 24 to drop off its pattern of asteroid Bennu,” they mentioned in an announcement.
Two extra manoeuvres, on September 10 and 17, will goal the exact level in Earth’s ambiance the place the spacecraft’s sample-return capsule should enter to land on the right track on the Division of Protection’s Utah Check and Coaching Vary close to Salt Lake Metropolis, the officers mentioned.
The pristine materials from Bennu — rocks and mud collected from the asteroid’s floor in 2020 — will provide generations of scientists a window into the time when the Solar and planets have been forming about 4.5 billion years in the past.
In the meantime, the OSIRIS-REx group members have been practising accumulating soil samples on the Division of Protection’s Utah Check and Coaching Vary. On July 18-20, the group rehearsed retrieving a mock pattern capsule on the location the place the true one will land.