“Hunter asteroids” NASA conducted a review of the main scientific tool

American interplanetary station OSIRIS-Rex space Agency NASA sent to hunt for the asteroid Bennu in 2016, held a successful health check tool, which shoulders the primary task of this mission, says NASA. We are talking about a robotic hand TAGSAM (Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism) by which OSIRIS-REx will collect samples of the asteroid.

Before performing the main task to study asteroid Bennu team of NASA engineers had to check the hand, which all this time was in the folded position. To verify that all mechanisms robotic arm was eight feet long. That all the parts of the tool work in a regular mode, the mission team realized from the received from the spacecraft telemetry and on-Board cameras SamCam.

Itself the robotic arm consists of sampling and folding of the manipulator length of 3.35 meters, which will allow you to install the probe on the surface of the asteroid, not realizing the fit of the entire apparatus to the surface of the asteroid. To facilitate the process of collecting samples of regolith will be transferred to the trap by means of compressed nitrogen, the stock of which is satellite. The whole process will be documented in one of three onboard cameras. At the end of the fence all the collected material will be moved to the return device and sent to the Ground. It is planned that the weight of the samples ranges from 60 grams to two kilograms. The process of soil sampling will take less than 5 seconds, then the machine with the help of careful maneuvering to move away from the asteroid, and go home.

The spacecraft OSIRIS-Rex must get to the asteroid Bennu within the next two weeks. The expectation is that this should happen on 3 December. This will start the annual mission to study the object of four scientific spectrometers for various purposes, as well as preparation for sample collection. The mission team will select the most suitable and potentially interesting for the soil sampling place, and then in July 2020 will produce the maximum rapprochement of the apparatus with the surface of the asteroid to the gathered scientists interested in the material.

It is expected that the probe will return with soil samples of Bennu back to Earth in 2023. The collected samples, scientists believe, will allow you to learn more about the time when the Solar system was very young, since the asteroid is much older herself.

To discuss the progress of the mission OSIRIS-Rex is possible in our Telegram chat.

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