Judging from the newly released footage – which you can see below – the Touch-and-Go (TAG) sample collection event seems to be a success.
The footage shows Bennu making OSIRIS-Rex contact with where the spacecraft immediately fires at the planet’s surface to collect samples and bursts a cloud of debris.According to NASA, “the sampling incident took the spacecraft all the way to the sample site Nightingale, and the team on Earth confirmed EDT’s successful touchdown at 6:08 p.m.” According to NASA.
“Preliminary data show that the head of the sample touched the surface of Bennu for about 6 seconds, after which the spacecraft back-burned.”
The asteroid mission went awry – and that’s a good thing. “We really messed up the planet’s surface. But it’s a good mess,” Dante Lure Retta, chief investigator at OSIRIS-Rex at the University of Arizona, told the press. “This is the mess we were hoping for.”
One of the many reasons why NASA chose Bennu was because of its ancient origins. NASA explained: “Bennu is a remnant of the turbulent structure of the solar system. Some of the mineral fragments inside Bennu may be even older than the solar system. These dust microorganisms may be the same as those formed from dying stars and other parts. Prepared to create the sun and its planets years ago.
Meteors that strike the Earth are contaminated in our atmosphere by their lineage and elements that have been exposed for years. Going straight to the source, if you will, gives astronomers a chance to study the ancient origins of life.
Star Wars rip-s fs
OSIRIS-Rex will continue collecting and mapping Bennu samples before launching the Earth Return mission in March 2021. He is expected to return to the U.S. in 2023.
For more science coverage, find out why there is a 50-50 chance that we actually live in a simulation, how conflict-free time-travel is possible, and why these scientists have no intention of “raising dinosaurs.”