The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is on its way to Earth to drop off rocky samples from asteroid Bennu on Sunday, marking NASA’s first attempt to retrieve a piece of a pure space rock.
The highly-anticipated drop-off has been seven years in the making, but the wait is finally over. The highly-anticipated drop-off has been seven years in the making. ET. You can tune in to the historic moment live through NASA TV, the NASA app, and the agency’s website
NASA Live: Official Stream of NASA TV
The plan is for the spacecraft to drop off its precious cargo during a close flyby of Earth, after which the capsule containing the asteroid samples will perform a parachute-assisted landing at Department Of Defense’s Utah Test and Training Range. NASA Live: Official Stream of NASATVThe capsule will land within a 37-mile by 9-mile ellipse (59 km by 15 km) about 13 minutes after it is released from the spacecraft. The capsule has to land within a 37-mile by 9-mile ellipse (59 km by 15 km) about 13 minutes after it is released by the spacecraft.OSIRIS-REx launched in September 2016, and reached asteroid Bennu in December 2018. In October 2020, the spacecraft landed on Bennu after nearly two years of observing it. OSIRIS REx said goodbye to Bennu on May 10, 2021 and started its journey back to Earth to deliver its valuable cargo. Bennu, a near-Earth small asteroid, makes a close approach to Earth about every six years. Scientists think Bennu may have been a fragment of a larger, carbon-rich asteroid 700 million to 2 trillion years ago. Since then, it has drifted closer to Earth. After delivering the sample to Earth OSIRIS REx will continue its journey towards its next mission to explore asteroid Apophis. Accordingly, the mission will be renamed to OSIRIS-APEX (OSIRIS-Apophis Explorer).
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