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OSIRIS-REx Arrives at Asteroid Bennu

4 Dec 2018, 01:42 UTC
OSIRIS-REx Arrives at Asteroid Bennu
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On December 3, 2018, after a journey that started on September 8, 2016, with a launch aboard an Atlas V 411 from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has arrived safely at the asteroid Bennu.

The OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer) spacecraft was conceived as a mission to bring back samples of regolith from a primitive, carbon-rich asteroid to Earth for extensive study. In addition, the mission would study the asteroid from close up and characterize it.Information gleaned from this study, including a close-up study of the Yarkovsky effect (the subtle pressure exerted by photons of light on the asteroid, thus slowly changing its trajectory) could also be important in preventing future impacts with near-earth asteroids (NEA’s).OSIRIS-REx, with Lockheed Martin as the spacecraft contractor, the Goddard Space Flight Center providing mission management, and the University of Arizona as the lead science institution, was chosen by the NASA New Frontiers program in May 2011.
The mission, headed by principal investigator Dante Lauretta, was planned as a mission to the asteroid then known as 1999 RQ36, an approximately 500 meter (0.5 km) diameter potentially hazardous asteroid (PHA) that has a 1 ...

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