Washington, D.C. – On May 10th, 2021 NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft will say farewell to asteroid Bennu and begin its journey back to Earth.
During its October 20th, 2020, sample collection event, the spacecraft collected a substantial amount of material from Bennu’s surface, likely exceeding the mission’s requirement of 2 ounces (60 grams).
Greenbelt, MD – On December 6th local time (December 5th in the United States), Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa2 dropped a capsule to the ground of the Australian Outback from about 120 miles (or 200 kilometers) above Earth’s surface. Inside that capsule is some of the most precious cargo in the solar system: dust that the spacecraft collected earlier this year from the surface of asteroid Ryugu.
By the close of 2021, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, will disperse samples of Ryugu to six teams of scientists around the globe.
Washington, D.C. – Two days after touching down on asteroid Bennu, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission team received on Thursday, October 22nd, 2020 images that confirm the spacecraft has collected more than enough material to meet one of its main mission requirements – acquiring at least 2 ounces (60 grams) of the asteroid’s surface material.
The spacecraft captured images of the sample collector head as it moved through several different positions. In reviewing these images, the OSIRIS-REx team noticed both that the head appeared to be full of asteroid particles, and that some of these particles appeared to be escaping slowly from the sample collector, called the Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) head.
Greenbelt, MD – Captured on Wednesday, October 20th, 2020 during NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission’s Touch-And-Go (TAG) sample collection event, this series of images shows the SamCam imager’s field of view as the NASA spacecraft approaches and touches down on asteroid Bennu’s surface, over 200 million miles (321 million km) away from Earth.
The sampling event brought the spacecraft all the way down to sample site Nightingale, touching down within three feet (one meter) of the targeted location.
Washington, D.C. NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft unfurled its robotic arm Tuesday, and in a first for the agency, briefly touched an asteroid to collect dust and pebbles from the surface for delivery to Earth in 2023.
This well-preserved, ancient asteroid, known as Bennu, is currently more than 200 million miles (321 million kilometers) from Earth.
Washington, D.C. – NASA will broadcast coverage of a first for the agency as its Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission attempts to collect a sample of asteroid Bennu on Tuesday, October 20th, at 5:12pm CT.
Live coverage of the spacecraft’s descent to the asteroid’s surface for its “Touch-And-Go,” or TAG, maneuver, which will be managed by Lockheed Martin Space near Denver, will begin at 4:00pm CT on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
Washington, D.C. – A historic moment is on the horizon for NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission. In just a few weeks, the robotic OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will descend to asteroid Bennu’s boulder-strewn surface, touch down for a few seconds and collect a sample of the asteroid’s rocks and dust – marking the first time NASA has grabbed pieces of an asteroid, which will be returned to Earth for study.
On October 20th, 2020 the mission will perform the first attempt of its Touch-And-Go (TAG) sample collection event. This series of maneuvers will bring the spacecraft down to site Nightingale, a rocky area 52 ft (16 m) in diameter in Bennu’s northern hemisphere, where the spacecraft’s robotic sampling arm will attempt to collect a sample.
Pasadena, CA – When NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft arrived at asteroid (101955) Bennu, mission scientists knew that their spacecraft was orbiting something special. Not only was the boulder-strewn asteroid shaped like a rough diamond, its surface was crackling with activity, shedding small pieces of rock into space.
Now, after more than a year and a half up close with Bennu, they’re starting to better understand these dynamic particle-ejection events.
Greenbelt, MD – Yesterday, the NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft performed its final practice run of the sampling sequence, reaching an approximate altitude of 131 feet (40 meters) over sample site Nightingale before executing a back-away burn. Nightingale, OSIRIS-REx’s primary sample collection site, is located within a crater in Bennu’s northern hemisphere.
The approximately four-hour “Matchpoint” rehearsal took the spacecraft through the first three of the sampling sequence’s four maneuvers: the orbit departure burn, the “Checkpoint” burn and the Matchpoint burn.
Washington, D.C. – In August, a robotic spacecraft will make NASA’s first-ever attempt to descend to the surface of an asteroid, collect a sample, and ultimately bring it safely back to Earth.
In order to achieve this challenging feat, the OSIRIS-REx mission team devised new techniques to operate in asteroid Bennu’s microgravity environment – but they still need experience flying the spacecraft in close proximity to the asteroid in order to test them.
So, before touching down at sample site Nightingale this summer, OSIRIS-REx will first rehearse the activities leading up to the event.
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