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Tags Current Affairs

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx

Date: 12 May 2021 Tags: Space

Issue

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft of NASA will depart asteroid Bennu on a two-year journey towards Earth.

 

Background

The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) is an experimental spacecraft to study asteroid in our solar system.

 

Details

  • The spacecraft made a brief landing on asteroid Bennu and collected some samples of pebbles and dust for examining on Earth.

  • The asteroid Bennu is ancient but has not undergone major changes since the birth of the universe. It contains the various chemicals and rocks that have not changed much.

  • Scientists believe that studying the rocks and chemicals will give them information about the origin of solar system, the Earth, other planets and the Sun.

 

Asteroid Bennu

  • Asteroid Bennu is a rocky special object that is present in our solar system. Asteroids are made up of rocks and are called minor planets.

  • It originated from the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and is slowly moving towards Earth.

  • Bennu is located at a distance of 200 million miles away from Earth and is as big as the Empire State Building.

  • Scientists study asteroid as they can get clue on origin of solar system. Tracking the asteroid will also help in identifying potentially hazardous asteroids.

  • Asteroid Bennu consists of large amounts carbon and various other minerals. It is classified under the B-Type asteroid.

  • It is assumed that Bennu was formed in the first 10 million years after creation of solar system. This puts its age to about 4.5 million years.

  • There is also a possibility that Bennu may strike Earth in the next century between 2175 and 2199. It is thus classified as Near Earth Asteroid.

 

Studying samples

  • NASA will preserve about 75 percent of the samples for the future generations to study using future technologies.

  • The rest will be used to study formation of the solar system and planets. Some samples will also be provided to labs worldwide.

 

OSIRIS-REx mission

  • NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission aims at sending a spacecraft to study asteroid Bennu and bring back samples to be studied on Earth.

  • It will be a seven year long voyage and will conclude once the spacecraft delivers the samples. It includes five instruments to study the asteroid.

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