Automatic spacecraft “Osiris-Rex” space Agency NASA after more than two years since launch, traveled more than 124 million miles of outer space and finally entered the orbit of the asteroid Bennu. The National management of the USA on Aeronautics and space research announced on his page on “Twitter”. The entry into orbit took place on 3 December at about 8 PM Moscow time.
The probe launched by the carrier rocket ATLAS V in 2016, took up orbit at a height of 4.5 kilometres above the surface of the asteroid with a diameter of about 550 meters, which rotates in an elliptical orbit around the Sun.
Achievement unlocked: “We have arrived!” Our @OSIRISREx mission asteroid Bennu reached, where it will spend almost a year mapping and studying to find a safe location to collect a sample. Watch: https://t.co/zI282xjLzc
— NASA (@NASA) December 3, 2018.
“Achievement: We finally made it! Our mission @OSIRISREx reached the orbit of the asteroid Bennu. For nearly a year, we will conduct mapping and finding a safe place to collect samples,” the message reads.
The scientific program of the mission will last about two years. It is expected that the us probe in March 2021 will take a soil sample of the asteroid in September 2023 throw it into a special capsule to the Earth’s atmosphere, so scientists could conduct further analysis.
The device is equipped with a solid set of scientific tools. It has three cameras. With one camera will adjust the position of the manipulator TAGSAM, testing of which was conducted in the middle of last month. With the help of the manipulator will collect samples of the asteroid. The other camera in blue, green and red light, and in the near-infrared range. The third is a telescope through which the probe did image Benn, even from a distance of several million kilometers to target. With this camera the unit will conduct mapping of the surface of Bennu.
Onboard laser altimeter, OLA will create a three-dimensional relief map of Bennu. This information will help scientists to choose the most suitable place of maximum convergence of the device with the surface of Bennu and collect samples of soil. In addition, set to “Osiris-Rex” different spectrometers allow the unit to find out the chemical composition of the asteroid, and to search for water and organic compounds in the subsoil.
Scientists believe that the asteroid Bennu consists of the substance of the nebula, the collapse of which gave rise to the Sun and most of the objects in the Solar system. The mission of the American unit can answer the question about the origin of the Solar system.