Space probe OSIRIS-REx has made the first images of the asteroid Bennu
WASHINGTON, August 25. /Offset. TASS Yaroslav Azarov/. American scientific spacecraft OSIRIS-REx took the first pictures of the asteroid Bennu after two years since launch. This was announced by the National office of the USA on Aeronautics and space research (NASA) at the briefing for journalists.
It is reported that the first five pictures were made on 17 August from a distance of 2.2 million miles If done from these images the animation, you can see a spot of light that moves between millions of stars. According to the Professor of the University of Arizona Dante Lauretta, participating in support of the mission OSIRIS-REx, the team has long waited for confirmation that the probe is moving in the right direction.
“I can’t tell you how much it means to the team, he said. — I know it’s just a point of light, but many of us worked many years to see this picture”. “First and foremost, we learned that asteroid exactly where we expected. He’s waiting for us. The team dealing with the navigation of the probe, did a fantastic job!” said Lauretta. It is clarified that the estimated budget of the academic mission is $1 billion.
After traveling for ~2 years, @OSIRISREx has caught its 1st glimpse of asteroid Bennu – officially beginning its final approach phase. Slated to arrive on Dec. 3, OSIRIS-REx will spend the next few months surveying its target & nearby surroundings. Details https://t.co/5udGcv55Nn pic.twitter.com/ZwpDsseHT0
— NASA (@NASA) August 24, 2018
OSIRIS-REx is one of three devices developed by the experts at NASA to launch the deep space program New Frontiers. This probe is equipped with several devices, including cameras, spectrometers and a laser rangefinder. The device should go into orbit around the Sun, which rotates the asteroid Bennu, catch up with him and start studying. Then they would launch an operation to capture the soil on the asteroid with the help of a hand-manipulator, equipped with a special pneumatic device. In total, employees NASA expects to harvest from 60 g to 2 kg of asteroid soil.
According to experts, one of the main goals of this project is obtaining new data on the structure and composition of asteroids, representing a potential danger to our planet. Subsequently, this information can be used to organize special missions to prevent asteroid threat. It is assumed that the soil sample on the asteroid, the machine will take in 2019-2020. And return to the Earth entry capsule of the probe is planned for September 2023.
As expected, the study of the soil samples will help scientists better understand how was the formation of the Solar system. The diameter of Bennu is approximately 550 m, it rotates in an elliptical orbit around the Sun. Astronomers consider it one of the Apollo — asteroids whose orbits cross Earth’s orbit. The probability of collision with him is one to 4000. His fall to Earth was equivalent to the explosion of a capacity of 2.7 MT of TNT.