OSIRIS-REx probe first flew near Bennu asteroid


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OSIRIS-REx probe first flew near Bennu asteroid

The United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) reports that the OSIRIS-REx automatic station successfully completed one of several planned flights near the Bennu asteroid.

Recall the essence of the OSIRIS-REx project, or Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer. The device, launched in 2016, is designed to collect rock samples from Bennu asteroid and deliver them to Earth.

In accordance with current plans, the probe is to carry out soil sampling at the end of August this year. To perform this operation, an area on the asteroid has already been determined – this is the Nightingale zone, which is located in a crater that lies high in the northern hemisphere of Bennu.

So, it is reported that this week the OSIRIS-REx station flew over the Nightingale area at an altitude of about 620 meters. Such “encounters” with an asteroid are necessary for mapping its surface: the collected data will subsequently help in the implementation of the main task – collecting rock samples.

In February, a similar flight will be made over another area of ​​the asteroid – Osprey, which is considered as a backup for capturing soil. Two more similar maneuvers – one for Nightingale and Osprey – are scheduled for March and May.

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