2-minute read

NASA's OSIRIS-REx completes last flyover of asteroid Bennu

NASA's OSIRIS-REx completes last flyover of asteroid Bennu

This image shows a top-down view of asteroid Bennu, with a portion of the asteroid’s equatorial ridge and northern hemisphere illuminated. It was taken by the PolyCam camera on NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft on March 4, 2021, from a distance of about 186 miles (300 km). Credit: NASA

Washington, April 8

NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has completed its last flyover of Bennu and is now slowly drifting away from the asteroid, the US space agency has said.

The flyover was completed at around 6 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, but the mission team will have to wait a few more days to find out how the spacecraft changed the surface of Bennu when it grabbed a sample of the asteroid, NASA said.

The OSIRIS-REx team added this flyby to document surface changes resulting from the Touch and Go (TAG) sample collection maneuver on October 20.

"By surveying the distribution of the excavated material around the TAG site, we will learn more about the nature of the surface and subsurface materials along with the mechanical properties of the asteroid," Dante Lauretta, principal investigator for OSIRIS-REx at the University of Arizona, said in a statement.

During the flyby, OSIRIS-REx imaged Bennu for 5.9 hours, covering more than a full rotation of the asteroid.

It flew within 3.5 kilometres distance to the surface of Bennu -- the closest it has been since the TAG sample collection event.

It will take until at least April 13 for OSIRIS-REx to downlink all of the data and new pictures of Bennu's surface recorded during the flyby.

"We collected about 4,000 megabytes of data during the flyby," said Mike Moreau, Deputy Project Manager of OSIRIS-REx at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

"Bennu is approximately 185 million miles from Earth right now, which means we can only achieve a downlink data-rate of 412 kilobits per second, so it will take several days to download all of the flyby data." Once the mission team receives the images and other instrument data, they will study how OSIRIS-REx jumbled up Bennu's surface.

OSIRIS-REx will remain in the vicinity of Bennu until May 10 when it will fire its thrusters and begin its two-year cruise home.

The mission will deliver the asteroid sample to Earth September 24, 2023, NASA said. IANS

Top Stories

India to open up COVID vaccination for all adults over 18 from May 1

India to open up COVID vaccination for all adults over 18 from May 1

Vaccine makers will need to reserve 50% doses for Centre and...

No evidence of the young being at greater risk in ongoing COVID wave: ICMR

No evidence of the young being at greater risk in ongoing COVID wave: ICMR

Over 70 per cent of patients above 40 years in both waves; n...

Punjab imposes stricter curbs as COVID-19 cases rise; bars, cinema halls, gyms, spas to be closed

Punjab imposes stricter curbs as COVID-19 cases rise; bars, cinema halls, gyms, spas to be closed

Ban on gatherings of over 20, including at weddings and fune...

Former PM Manmohan Singh tests positive for COVID-19; admitted to AIIMS

Former PM Manmohan Singh tests positive for COVID-19; admitted to AIIMS

88-year-old Singh and his wife had taken their second shots ...

Delhi announces 6-day lockdown starting  Monday night

Delhi announces 6-day lockdown starting Monday night

We cannot have people dying on the roads: Chief Minister Kej...

Cities

View All