Landing on an Asteroid: NASA OSIRIS-REx Bennu Landing successfully rehearses

OSIRIS-REx approached Bennu the nearest possible way, just 75 meters from the surface of the asteroid.

by Nithiya

Updated: Apr 16, 2020 20:15 IST

Tags: Science Tech
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Rehearsal of a successful land

The quest for a better understanding of asteroids has only gone a step forward. The NASA space probe OSIRIS-REx yesterday, 15 April, achieved its nearest, but close, approach to the Bennu asteroid, which is a final trial session ahead of its probable landing and collections of samples later this year. After having completed what NASA calls a 'checkpoint review,' the OSIRIS-REx official name has also sent home pictures from Bennu to the Origins-Spectral Analysis Resource Recognition Protection Regolith Explorer.

Such images show Nightingale, the crater of the North Hemisphere on the surface of Bennu, in which OSIRIS-REx would land. A medium height of 75 meters from the surface of the asteroid has been taken up by the son the nearest ever to Bennu. OSIRIS-REx remains in a "safe house" orbit after entering Bennu; they have explored the asteroid from afar and from afar. The average realm is 1km above the surface around Bennu. The maneuver yesterday comprised two main phases for the landing, which OSIRIS-REx will follow in August 2020, beginning with their medium orbit and approaching the checkpoint (on 125 meters above the surface), and a nine-minute descent towards Bennu, that brought the sample closest to the asteroid.

In a statement released on the OSIRIS-REx Mission by NASA, Erin Morton said, "The sample arm of the spacecraft, the Touch-And-Go sample acquisition mechanism of the TAGSAM, successfully deployed during the rehearsal, from its folded, parking spacecraft location to the configuration of the sample array.

"This first rehearsal allowed the mission team to practice guiding the spacecraft through the orbit departure and check-pointed maneuvers and verify that the photos, navigation, and range systems of the probe were working as planned during the first part of the descent sequence.
The first collection of asteroid rock samples will be scheduled for 25 August when OSIRIS-REx hits the surface of Bennu, deploys its samples collection arm for just five seconds. It is assumed to be the first attempt to catch an asteroid fragment, and if results are unsatisfactory, the probe will require a few more tries. OSIRIS-REx will be returning to Earth on September 24, 2023, with a piece of Bennu. Protection Status