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NASA’s OSIRIS-REx

  • Published
    23rd Sep, 2023
Context

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is preparing for the final phase of the OSIRIS-REx mission as the spacecraft is set to drop a capsule containing samples from the asteroid Bennu on Earth.

About OSIRIS-Rex:
  • The Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security - Regolith Explorer was launched by NASA in 2016 for the journey to Asteroid Bennu.
  • The spacecraft travelled to a near-Earth asteroid and bring back a sample to Earth for study.
  • Significance: The mission will help scientists investigate how planets formed and how life began, as well as improve our understanding of asteroids that could impact Earth.

Facts about Asteroid Bennu:

  • It is located about 200 million miles away from the Earth.
  • It was discovered by a team from the NASA-funded Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research team in 1999.
  • It is a B-type asteroid, implying that it contains significant amounts of carbon and various other minerals.
  • Around 20-40 percent of Bennu’s interior is empty space and scientists believe that it was formed in the first 10 million years of the solar system’s creation, implying that it is roughly 4.5 billion years old.
  • Bennu is believed to have been born in the Main Asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and because of gravitational tugs from other celestial objects and the slight push asteroids get when they release absorbed sunlight, the asteroid is coming closer to Earth.
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