The other day NASA's OSIRIS-REx space probe performeda six-second landing on asteroid Bennu, taking soil samples from it. NASA specialists have published unique images and video footage of the contact of the spacecraft with the surface of the asteroid.
The footage released by NASA was captured by spacea device that landed on the asteroid Bennu for a few seconds for sampling. The asteroid is located 300 million kilometers from the Earth. The device spent 6 seconds on Bennu, taking samples of dirt and dust. The mission cost NASA $ 1.16 billion and was the first - and successful - attempt by the United States to take soil samples from an asteroid in order to study them and use them to reveal the secrets of the origin of life on the planet.
The samples will be delivered to Earth in 2023. The images and video show how the probe descended to one and a half meters above the planned landing point, avoiding boulders the size of a house. A three-meter mechanical arm stretched out of the apparatus, crushing small porous stones. Then a powerful jet of nitrogen hit the asteroid to knock the debris out of the ground, and finally they were all pulled into the container. The device stayed in contact with the asteroid for six seconds, five of which were spent on collecting samples, with most of them collected in the first three seconds.
After the end of the mission, the device turned on the acceleratorsand headed away from Bennu. At NASA's Mission Control Center, the completion of the mission was greeted with applause. “We're going to get the largest volume of space samples since the Apollo mission,” NASA officials said. “If everything goes well, scientists will have enough work with these samples, not only of the present, but also of the next generations.”
According to NASA experts, the mission wascompleted in full accordance with the plan, the spacecraft is fully operational and continues its route in space. Meanwhile, scientists and engineers are trying to figure out how many samples the satellite managed to capture. To study them, at least 60 grams are required, the capsule holds 2 kilograms, but it is not known how much the device managed to fill it. to understand this, scientists are now studying images. made by the probe before and after landing, studying the changes and the possible volume of the disappeared soil. On Saturday, they plan to launch a slow rotation program on the probe and evaluate the change in its mass. However, the final clarity will come, of course, only in 2023, when the sample arrives on Earth.