Space launched probe, the OSIRIS-REx successfully landed on orbital asteroid Bennu and managed to collect material on the 20th of October. The report came during an address made 24hrs after OSIRIS-REx touched down on the asteroid. The mission s success is excellent news because, according to the report, it went according to plan, comparable to previous launches, which experienced numerous glitches.
OSIRIS-REx sent back captured photos of the floating rock. It also showcased the newly installed sampling technique, TAGSAM. In the video shared by OSIRIS-REx, a robotic arm is seen coming down towards the surface with a bottle of stored nitrogen. The video goes on to show the gas exploding to reveal inside layers of rocks.
NASA chief administrator Jim Bridenstine responded to the video stating that it was a success. The results from the operation were more than expected. According to patrons working on the OSIRIS-REx project, results show much potential.
The OSIRIS-REx is currently 320km into space but managed to land accurately on the target area, only missing by a meter. The satellite’s landing site was inside the asteroids crater dubbed nightingale. Rich Burns, the OSIRIS-REx project manager, confirmed that the achievement is not a small feat.
However, there are concerns that the result might have turned different if the surface material was made of hard rocks. The OSIRIS-REx was fortunate to land on soft rock enabling the sample to be obtained. The rock being soft allowed the OSIRIS-REx’s mechanical arm to penetrate and, in one instance, shattered a large piece upon impact.
However, there is speculation that the team still days before determining the capacity of material obtained. The device needs to take photos of the operation to get a general idea of the entire material mass. The controller then proceeds to spin the material measuring the resulting forces from its forces of inertia. Using these two results, scientists can accurately calculate the mass of material by an error margin of 20grams.
The mission expects to bring back close to 60grams of material for sampling. The missions were initially dubbed the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer, shorted out to OSIRIS-REx. Experts working on the project expect to have the satellite back on earth by September 2023. The return mission will be the last of the OSIRIS-REx. Scientists are eagerly waiting for the return journey with expectations to learn a lot from samples gathered.