fbpx
Ethiopia: Loan from United Nations Fund Allows Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to Scale Up Fertilizers for Farmers in TigrayRead more How Choosing the Right Printer Helps Small Businesses and Content Creators to Save Time, Maximise Productivity and Achieve GrowthRead more The United States Contributes USD $223 Million to Help World Food Programme (WFP) Save Lives and Stave Off Severe Hunger in South SudanRead more Eritrea: World Breastfeeding WeekRead more Eritrean community festival in Scandinavian countriesRead more IOM: Uptick in Migrants Heading Home as World Rebounds from COVID-19Read more Network International & Infobip to offer WhatsApp for Business Banking Services to Financial Institution Clients across AfricaRead more Ambassador Jacobson Visits Gondar in the Amhara Region to Show Continued U.S. Support for the Humanitarian and Development Needs of EthiopiansRead more Voluntary Repatriation of Refugees from Angola to DR Congo ResumesRead more Senegal and Mauritania Are Rich in Resources, Poor in Infrastructure, Now Is the Time to Change That Read more

NASA says probe successfully stowed sample from asteroid

Print Friendly and PDF

Oct 30, 2020 - 12:27 PM

WASHINGTON — NASA said Thursday its robotic spacecraft Osiris-Rex was able to stow a rock and dust sample scooped up from the asteroid Bennu, after a flap that had wedged open put the mission at risk.

“We are here to announce today that we’ve successfully completed that operation,” said Rich Burns, the mission’s project manager.

The probe is on a mission to collect fragments that scientists hope will help unravel the origins of our solar system, but hit a snag after it picked up too big of a sample.

Fragments from the asteroid’s surface in a collector at the end of the probe’s three-meter (10-foot) arm had been slowly escaping into space because some rocks prevented the compartment from closing completely.

That arm is what came into contact with Bennu for a few seconds last Tuesday in the culmination of a mission launched from Earth some four years ago.

On Thursday, NASA said it had been able a day earlier to maneuver the robotic arm holding the leaking particles to a storage capsule near the center of the spacecraft, drop off the sample and close the capsule’s lid.

It was a delicate two-day procedure, requiring the team at each step to assess images and data from the previous step.

The probe is 200 million miles (320 million kilometers) away, so it takes 18.5 minutes for its transmissions to reach Earth, and any signal from the control room requires the same amount of time to reach Osiris-Rex.

“My heart breaks for loss of sample,” said Dante Lauretta, the mission’s chief scientist, but he noted that they had successfully stowed hundreds of grams (several ounces) of fragments, far in excess of their minimum goal.

“Now we can look forward to receiving the sample here on Earth and opening up that capsule,” he said.

Osiris-Rex is set to come home in September 2023, hopefully with the largest sample returned from space since the Apollo era.

  • bio
  • twitter
  • facebook
  • latest posts

ZONNTECH.COM uses both Facebook and Disqus comment systems to make it easier for you to contribute. We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles and blog posts. All comments should be relevant to the topic. By posting, you agree to our Privacy Policy. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, name-calling, foul language or other inappropriate behavior. Please keep your comments relevant and respectful. By leaving the ‘Post to Facebook’ box selected – when using Facebook comment system – your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the “X” in the upper right corner of the Facebook comment box to report spam or abuse. You can also email us.