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NASA's OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sample Return to Earth: Live Updates

NASA's OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sample Return to Earth: Live Updates
Image Credit :Nasa

In This article, we will delve into NASA's historic OSIRIS-REx mission, set to return samples from the asteroid Bennu to Earth after a seven-year deep space journey. 

History of OSIRIS-REx

Launched in 2016, NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission embarked on an extraordinary voyage to the asteroid Bennu. It reached its destination in October 2020 and successfully collected samples from the asteroid's surface.

    The Return Mission

The highlight of this mission is the return of these precious samples. Scheduled for September 24th, 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT), a specially designed capsule will descend to Earth in Utah's Department of Defense's Utah Test and Training Range near Dugway, Utah.

    The Mystery Inside the Capsule

Inside this capsule lies a valuable treasure trove - material collected from Bennu in October 2020. This material, derived from a 1,650-foot-wide near-Earth asteroid, Bennu, is expected to hold invaluable insights into the history of our solar system.

     Unexpected Challenges

The OSIRIS-REx mission encountered unexpected challenges during its journey. When the spacecraft arrived at Bennu in 2018, its surface differed significantly from expectations. This prompted the mission's chief scientist, Dante Lauretta, to reprogram the spacecraft to ensure a safe landing on Bennu's loose, gravelly surface.

     Bennu's Surprises

Asteroid Bennu had more surprises in store for OSIRIS-REx. This article explores how the asteroid's unpredictability added an element of suspense to the mission. The spacecraft had to navigate Bennu's peculiar surface conditions, making it a thrilling yet potentially perilous endeavor.

      Countdown to Return

As of September 17, 2023, NASA is just one week away from the monumental landing of the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample-return capsule. This event marks the culmination of the mission's primary 7-year journey that commenced with its launch in 2016 and the collection of samples at Bennu in October 2020.

    The Nail-Biting Return

Scientists and space enthusiasts alike are on edge as they await OSIRIS-REx's return to Earth. The spacecraft will re-enter Earth's atmosphere at an astonishing speed of up to 27,000 mph, protected by a heat shield. It will then deploy drogue and main parachutes to safely slow down to a manageable 10 mph.

    Aiding the Mission

Throughout its journey, the OSIRIS-REx mission faced numerous hurdles, but it ultimately succeeded, thanks in part to the efforts of Queen guitarist Brian May. May's creation of meticulous 3D images of Bennu's surface helped mission leaders identify safe landing spots.

     Preparing for the Homecoming

In preparation for the mission's highly anticipated asteroid-sample delivery on September 24th, the OSIRIS-REx team conducted crucial drop tests. These tests simulated the procedures that would ensure the safe return of the mission's precious cargo.

     Insights from the Scientist

In an exclusive interview, Dante Lauretta, the chief scientist of NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission, shed light on the unexpected challenges encountered during this pioneering asteroid sampling attempt. His insights provide a unique perspective on the mission's remarkable journey.

NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission stands as a testament to human ingenuity and determination. As we eagerly await the return of its asteroid samples, we reflect on the challenges faced and the invaluable insights that await us within that special capsule landing in Utah on September 24th. Stay tuned for more updates on this historic event.

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