The collection of TAG samples of the asteroid 101955 Bennu is scheduled to descend at 3:12 pm PST on October 20 (Tuesday). The National Aeronautics and Space Administration will broadcast the TAG exercise live on NASA TV and the agency’s website from 2 pm on Tuesday. You also need to know about Osiris-Rex, Bennu, and all other information about how NASA plans to steal asteroids.
When will the mission begin?
Osiris-Rex has existed as a concept, at least since 2004, when a group of astronomers first proposed this idea to NASA.After more than ten years of development, the spacecraftOn the Atlas V rocket of the United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing. The spacecraft cruised to Bennu for the next 26 months and officially arrived on December 3, 2018.
Since then, the mission team has spent nearly two years running on the diamond-shaped space rock, measuring and mapping its surface to select the best sampling point. In recent months, the rehearsal has begun, and a sample collection attempt is about to be made. Now the team has stated that it is ready for a TAG match with Bennu.
Why choose Bennu?
Bennu is a so-called “rubble pile” asteroid, which means that it was formed in the past of the deep space universe, when gravity slowly gathered together the remnants of ancient collisions. The result is a body shaped like a spinning top, about one-third of a mile (500 meters) in diameter, and the surface is covered with large rocks and boulders.
Bennu is considered a window into the solar system’s past: a primitive, carbon-rich object that carries the structural elements of planets and life. Some of these resources, such as water and metals, may also be worth using in earth or space exploration at some point in the future.
This asteroid has another feature that is of particular interest to scientists and mankind as a whole-it has the opportunity to affect the Earth in the distant future. In NASA’s impact risk list, Bennu ranks second. Current data shows that in the last 25 years of the 22nd century, there may be dozens of potential effects, although in reality there is only a small chance to pass.
How does TAG work?
For those who have dabbled in robots and even participated in robotics competitions, the Osiris-Rex task seems to be the ultimate culmination of young roboticists’ dreams. The push-to-go sampling procedure is a complex, high-risk task that has been constructed at a critical climax for many years. If successful, it will play a role in history and the future of our space.
The basic plan is that Osiris-Rex will touch Bennu on the rocks. The van-shaped spacecraft will need to negotiate building-sized boulders around the landing zone to land in a relatively clear space with only a few parking spaces. However, the automatic sampling arm will be the only part of Osiris-Rex that actually falls on the ground. One of the three pressurized nitrogen tanks would catch fire to agitate samples of dust and small rocks, and then capture these samples in the collector head of the arm for safe storage and return to earth.
It takes about four hours to descend to the surface of Bennu, which is about the time it takes for the asteroid to make one revolution. After this slow method, the actual TAG sample collection process will last less than 16 seconds.
The preparations for TAG did not go as planned. The mission organizers initially hoped that Bennu’s surface would have a large number of potential landing sites, which were mainly covered with fine materials equivalent to sand or gravel. It turns out that Bennu’s surface is extremely rugged, and there is no real welcome landing point.
After spending most of the past two years reassessing the mission, the team decided to try to “shuttle” through the boulder-filled landscape in Nightingale and several other alternate sample sites. The surface may still prove too rocky to obtain a good sample. If it does, the team can choose to retry at another site. Osiris-Rex is equipped with three nitrogen tanks that can launch and destroy surfaces, which means the team can try up to three times to obtain samples.
After collecting the sample, Osiris-Rex will immediately launch thrusters to move it away from Bennu. The space shuttle will continue to hover over Bennu for the rest of 2020, and then finally conduct a departure exercise next year and begin a two-year journey back to Earth.
Osiris-Rex plans to abandon its sample return capsule on September 24, 2023, which will land in the Utah desert and be recovered for research.
Isn’t this done before?
Yes. In 2010, the Japanese craft bird spacecraft successfully returned the asteroid 25143, Itokawa, to Earth.Its successor Hay Bird 2 succeededThen retrieve some shrapnel. The sample is currently returning to Earth.
What do i think?
Following NASA’s live broadcast, the live broadcast starts at 2pm (Pacific Standard Time) on Tuesday. You can also follow the Osiris-Rex Twitter feed to get the latest updates.