NASA’s Osiris REx Spacecraft: Everything you want to know

Nasa’s Osiris REx Spacecraft is the talk of the town after the enormous success of collecting the sample from an asteroid named Bennu. Osiris-REx built for an asteroid study in collecting the 2.1 oz from Bennu and meticulous analysis on the sample.

What is Osiris REx Spacecraft?

NASA and Lockheed Martin Corporation planned for a launch of an asteroid sample return mission on 8th September 2016 and named Osiris REx Spacecraft. The mission cost around 800 dollars for the whole trip. 

The mission is all about collecting the sample from the targeted study- 101955 Bennu. Osiris REx set to fly from Earth’s surface on 22 September 2017.

It took hardly years to locate a precise spot to extract the sample, finally approached Bennu on 3rd December 2018. Osiris REx lucidly made a perfect arrival on 3rd December 2018.arrived with calculated speed and distance by the NASA team. 

Initially, Osiris REx finds it too hard to extract the sample as Bennu stands ominous to the Earth. But on 31st December 2018 after entering orbit around Bennu, Osiris REx started its mapping. Sensing in order to extract the sample and send it to the sample site nearby. NASA selected prominent sample sites- Nightingale(near Bennu’s the North Pole)and Osprey(near the Equator)as Backup site in case unpropitious events happen. 

NASA and Lockheed Martin Corporation invented an instrument known as Touch-and-go-sample-acquisition-mechanism built along with Osiris REx. The instrument gives physical contact with Bennu. On 20th October 2020, Osiris Rex touched the surface to collect the sample with the help of an instrument TAGSAM. 

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What is the objective of collecting the sample?

The scientists want to analyze the sample of an asteroid that accelerates their knowledge on the types of materials that were present at the commencement of the Solar System.

When is Osiris REx returning?

On 30th October 2020, NASA officially declared the return date of the spacecraft by 23rd September 2023, after successfully done with a sample return Capsule. The spacecraft is set 320 million km away from earth and returning with “superfast”. On 7th April 2021 made its closest approach by sending pictures of the spot where the sample collected by Osiris REx left a messy scene. 

Now, NASA is working on the return of the sample into a capsule- between 60g and 2000g, safe to the earth on 23rd September 2023. The mission was expected to complete within 7 years only if the sample returns safely. 

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