NASA Prepares OSIRIS REx to Safely Store Leaking Asteroid Samples
NASA Prepares OSIRIS-REx to Safely Store Leaking Asteroid Samples
Precious fragments scooped from asteroid Bennu are leaking from a collector at the end of the probe's three-meter arm.
By Agence France-Presse | Updated: 27 October 2020 14:38 IST
Photo Credit: NASA/University of Arizona, Tucson
This illustration shows NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft stowing the sample it collected from asteroid Bennu
OSIRIS-REx is set to come home in September 2023
Probe is thought to have collected some 400 grams of fragments
Probe is so far it takes 18.5 minutes for transmissions to reach Earth
NASA's robotic spacecraft Osiris-Rex is set to begin on Tuesday a delicate operation to store the precious particles it scooped up from the asteroid Bennu, but which were leaking into space when a flap got wedged open.
The probe is on a mission to collect fragments that scientists hope will help unravel the origins of our solar system, but that hit a snag after it picked up too big of a sample.
Fragments from the asteroid's surface are in a collector at the end of the probe's three-metre (10-foot) arm, slowly escaping into space because some rocks have prevented the compartment closing completely.