NASA conducts essential drop test in front of Sept. 24 appearance of OSIRIS-REx space rock test

NASA conducts essential drop test in front of Sept. 24 appearance of OSIRIS-REx space rock test

NASA is wrapping up its arrangements for the arrival on Earth of a valuable space rock test one month from now.

On Wednesday (Aug. 30), teams from the agency’s OSIRIS-REx mission carried out a crucial test by retrieving a dummy capsule that had fallen to Earth in the desert west of Salt Lake City at the Utah Test and Training Range of the United States Department of Defense.

That is where OSIRIS-REx’s genuine example case, containing around 8.8 ounces (250 grams) of material from the close Earth space rock Bennu, will land on Sept. 24.

“We are now mere weeks away from receiving a piece of solar system history on Earth, and this successful drop test ensures we’re ready,” Nicola Fox, partner chairman of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, said in a proclamation on Wednesday.

“Pristine material from asteroid Bennu will help shed light on the formation of our solar system 4.5 billion years ago, and perhaps even on how life on Earth began,” Fox added.

OSIRIS-REx sent off in September 2016, set for study and obstacle tests from Bennu, a possibly risky space rock around 1,650 feet (500 meters) wide.

The rocket showed up at Bennu in December 2018. It then looked at the space rock very close for almost two years, taking the stone’s action and searching for good points where to dip in and get an example.

That second shown up in October 2020, and it accompanied a fair piece of show and shock.

“We thought for sure we’re going to touch down on a solid surface — this was an asteroid, it was a rock from outer space — but it actually responded more like a fluid, like if you dropped yourself into a ball pit at a children’s playground,”OSIRIS-REx head specialist Dante Lauretta, of the College of Arizona, said during a question and answer session on Wednesday.

He continued, “The good news was, because of that really soft surface, we collected an enormous amount of material,”

OSIRIS-REx, which stands for “Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security–Regolith Explorer.” is currently transporting that material to Earth. Throughout the spring and summer, the mission team has been taking a series of tests to prepare for its arrival. Wednesday’s container recuperation is essential for the last significant practice run, NASA authorities said.

The capsule will be moved to a clean room on the Utah military range where it will be processed after it lands. After that, the Bennu materials will be shipped to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, where they will be curated and stored.

Throughout the next few long stretches of time, a portion of this space rock material will be shipped off researchers all over the planet, who will read up it for pieces of information about how our planetary group framed and developed.

Scientists will likewise search for proof of natural particles, the carbon-containing building blocks of life. Carbon-rich space rocks like Bennu are remembered to have conveyed quite a bit of this material to our planet, alongside heaps of water, through influences some time in the past.

OSIRIS-REx itself isn’t arriving on Earth one month from now, coincidentally: On a prolonged mission to investigate the asteroid Apophis, the probe will continue to fly.

Like Bennu, a potentially hazardous asteroid, OSIRIS-REx is scheduled to arrive at Apophis in 2029.