The sample from the asteroid Bennu will return to Earth on Sunday, the 24th, as the spacecraft continues another mission.
OSIRIS-REx’s final corrective maneuver was performed on Sunday, September 17, allowing it to enter its designated approach path to Earth. The auxiliary thrusters only slightly modified the probe’s speed, but the process was crucial in ensuring that the lander could enter the Earth’s atmosphere at the correct angle with the samples.
Yesterday, NASA officials released the latest mission update: After the correction, the landing zone was 12.5 kilometers, which, according to estimates, narrowed to an area of 58 by 14 kilometers, which is not far from the Department of Defense training center. In Utah.
OSIRIS-REx is currently approaching Earth at a speed of 23,000 km/h. The sample collection capsule will separate on September 24, 102,000 kilometers from our planet, and if all goes according to plan, it can reach Earth before 6 p.m. Hungarian time.
The spacecraft arrived at Bennu in December 2018, entered orbit around it, and studied the asteroid for about two years. On October 20, 2020, he successfully sampled by touching the surface and approx. He managed to store 250 grams of rock samples in a collection container, then began creating a new container on his way home. This quarter-kilogram specimen of invaluable scientific importance will return and hopefully land safely. If successful, NASA specialists will transport the capsule to the Johnson Space Center, where it will be placed in appropriate conditions and then studied.
The probe’s main module continues its mission and now begins its journey under the name OSIRIS-APEX towards the asteroid Apophis, where it could arrive in 2029.