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Life on the Asteroid Frontier

Searching for the Earth-Trojan Asteroids

19 Jan 2017, 20:19 UTC
Searching for the Earth-Trojan Asteroids
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The OSIRIS-REx mission will take advantage of our fortuitous trajectory to search for an elusive class of asteroids that may be the remnants of the building blocks of the Earth.
The trajectory of OSIRIS-REx as we pass through the Earth-Sun L4 region.
Since our launch on September 8, 2016, spacecraft operations for OSIRIS-REx have gone well. We have exercised the propulsion system by performing regular momentum dumps using the attitude control thrusters, executing the large deep-space maneuver using the main engines, and firing the trajectory correction maneuver thrusters to perform precision targeting of our upcoming Earth gravity assist in September 2017. All science instruments have been checked out, and we have downlinked all their data. The team is learning how to fly this amazing robotic explorer. As part of this process, we decided to perform a full rehearsal of our observation planning system. I thought it would be a good idea to add some excitement to this activity by making observations that have the potential for a real science discovery. Starting on February 9, 2017, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will search an important part of our Solar System for an elusive class of planetary objects – the Earth-Trojan asteroids.
Diagram illustrating ...

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