The NASA OSIRIS REx mission will also visit the asteroid Apophis

The NASA OSIRIS REx mission will also visit the asteroid Apophis

On September 24, 2023, NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission will fly to Earth to deliver a sample from the asteroid Bennu. However, it will not leave the scene. NASA has in fact extended the mission, led by the University of Arizona, which will be renamed OSIRIS-APEX, to examine the asteroid near the Earth Apophis, for a period of 18 months. Apophis will approach Earth in 2029.

The mission will be led by the University of Arizona and will take its first step towards Apophis 30 days after the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft delivers the sample collected from the Bennu surface in October 2020. The original mission team will then split, with the analysis team dealing with the sample collected on Bennu and the team dedicated to the operation and control of the spacecraft and on-board instruments focusing on OSIRIS-APEX mission, which stands for OSIRIS-Apophis Explorer.

Dante Lauretta, Regents Professor of Planetary Sciences, will remain the principal investigator of OSIRIS-REx during the remaining two-year phase of the sample's return from the mission. Dani Della Giustina, assistant professor of planetary sciences and deputy principal investigator of OSIRIS-REx, will then become the principal investigator of OSIRIS-APEX. The extension adds another $ 200 million to the initial mission cost ceiling.

The team conducted a thorough search for potential target asteroids before deciding to target Apophis. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft was built for what is called a rendezvous mission, which means that instead of doing a single flyby, quickly snapping images and collecting data, it was designed to get close and study for a long time. object.

if (" ); }
NASA "Apophis is one of the most infamous asteroids," said Della Giustina. “When it was first discovered in 2004, there was concern that it would impact Earth in 2029. This risk was discarded after subsequent observations, but it will still remain the closest object of this size. to our planet in the roughly 50 years that asteroids have been closely followed, or for the next 100 years to come, at least as far as we know so far. In 2029 it will be at a distance from the Earth corresponding to about one-tenth of the distance between the Earth and the Moon. People in Europe and Africa will be able to see it with the naked eye. ”

OSIRIS-REx was launched in 2016 to collect a sample from Bennu that will help scientists learn about the formation of the solar system and the Earth as a habitable planet. OSIRIS-REx is the first NASA mission to collect and return a sample from a near-Earth asteroid.

Scientists also want to investigate how the asteroid will be physically affected by the gravitational pull of the asteroid. Earth during its approach in 2029.

They also want to know more about the composition of the asteroid. Apophis is about the same size as Bennu, about 304 meters at its longest point, but differs in what is called its spectral type. Bennu is a B-type asteroid linked to carbonaceous chondrite meteorites, while Apophis is an S-type asteroid linked to ordinary chondrite meteorites.

“The OSIRIS-REx mission has already achieved so many firsts and I am proud that it will continue to teach us the origins of our solar system, ”said University of Arizona president Robert C. Robbins. The University of Arizona is one of the leading institutions in the world that deals with studying small celestial bodies with the aid of spacecraft.

Powered by Blogger.