NASA has succeeded in it’s touch and go mission to grab samples from asteroid Bennu.
It was reported earlier that NASA was preparing for a touch and go mission to the space to grab samples from asteroid Bennu and this is the first of it’s kind for NASA.
It happened that a NASA spacecraft is loaded with abundant asteroid rubble from this week’s touch and go that it is shoved open and particles were dropping away in space, scientists said Friday.
Scientists declared the news three days after the spacecraft dubbed Osiris-Rex touched asteroid Bennu.
The mission’s lead scientist, Dante Lauretta of the University of Arizona, announced that Tuesday’s project 200 million miles away obtained more samples than anticipated for return to Earth — in the hundreds of grams.
The sample container on the rear of the robot arm punctured so deeply into the asteroid and with incredible force, that rocks got drawn in and became stuck around the rim of the lid.
Scientists calculate the samples compressed as plentiful as 19 inches (48 centimetres) into the black terrain.
“We’re almost a victim of our own success here,” Lauretta said at a hastily arranged news conference.
Lauretta explained that there is nothing the flight controllers can do to get rid of the barriers and stop more bits of Bennu from slipping, except to get the samples into their return capsule immediately.
“Time is of the essence,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, chief of NASA’s science missions.
Scientists were amazed on Thursday when they saw the images reaching from Osiris-Rex following its successful touch-and-go at Bennu two days earlier.
A smog of asteroid particles could be seen rotating around the spacecraft as it moved away from Bennu. The condition seemed to settle, according to Lauretta, immediately the robot arm was latched into place.
The prerequisite for the $800 million-plus mission was to return with at least 2 ounces (60 grams).
Osiris-Rex will still leave the proximity of the asteroid in March. The samples return until 2023, seven years after the spacecraft soared away from Cape Canaveral.
Due to the abrupt turn of events, scientists are uncertain of how much the sample capsule carries until it’s returns to Earth. They originally intended to turn the spacecraft to gauge the quantities, but that procedure was abolished since it could pour even more debris.
“I think we’re going to have to wait until we get home to know precisely how much we have,” Lauretta told reporters. “As you can imagine, that’s hard. … But the good news is we see a lot of material.”