After a four-year journey, ’s robotic spacecraft OSIRIS-REx landed on the boulder surface of the on Tuesday, with an accuracy of 200 million miles (330 million kilometers) from the earth. Operate to collect rock and dust .

The so-called “touch and go” or TAG action is managed by Lockheed Martin Space in Denver, Colorado, 22:12 GMT (22:12 GMT), announcer Said: “A touchdown was announced. Sampling is in progress,” the scientist exploded in celebration.

This historic mission is to carry out 12 years of manufacturing and rest during the crucial 16-second period. The spacecraft performed subtle autonomous maneuvers to seize its precious payload: at least 60 grams (two ounces), or something like Scientists hope that this will help clarify the origin of our solar system.

If OSIRIS-REx successfully returns home in September 2023, it will collect the largest sample returned from space since the Apollo era.

NASA scientist Michelle Taller said: “We think that, in fact, we may return to the solar system billions of years ago, a baby of chemical states.”

“We are looking for our pedigree, which is why we have gone so far to bring back some Bennu.”

In the final stage of descending to the asteroid Nightingale Crater, it was only 490 meters (approximately 490 meters (1600 feet in diameter)).

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For comparison, this is only slightly larger than the Empire State Building.

OSIRIS-REx places its robotic arm on a target area of ​​only eight meters (26 feet) in diameter, and then fires pressurized nitrogen to agitate the surface material and capture its sample.

Then, the spacecraft fired its thrusters away from Bennu’s surface to complete what scientists dubbed the “bow”.

Mission control and the public learned about this about 18.5 minutes later than it actually happened. This is because of the time it takes for the signal to return from space rocks, which mostly orbit between Venus and Mars.

Once the is far away and has a higher data transmission rate, the first will only be available on Wednesday.

We will have to wait until Saturday to determine whether OSIRIS-REx has successfully collected the required amount of dust.

Scientists hope to weigh at least 60 grams, but the spacecraft can pick up 2 kilograms or 5 pounds.

If it turns out that the spacecraft has not collected enough things, it will reach the alternate site again on January 12, 2021, which is another relatively rock-free area near the rocky equator.

‘Rosetta Stone’

Scientists are interested in analyzing the composition of asteroids in the solar system because they are made of the same materials that make up planets.

NASA Chief Scientist Thomas Zurbuchen said: “It is almost a Rosetta stone, and there is something on it that can tell us the history of the entire planet and the solar system over the past billions of years.”

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Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s planetary science department, said that laboratories on Earth will be able to perform more high-energy analyses of its physical and chemical properties.

Not like the samples brought back from the moon by Apollo astronauts, all samples will be analyzed immediately, and NASA will still open them 50 years later.

NASA chose this particular asteroid because it is very close and very old: scientists have calculated that it formed in the first 10 million years of the solar system’s history 4.5 years ago.

After OSIRIS-REx arrived at the rock at the end of 2018, the project team was surprised to receive photos showing that the photos were covered with pebbles and boulders, sometimes 30 meters high.

Last year, after Japan’s Hayabusa2 probe collected some dust from Ryugu, Japan became the first country to come into contact with an asteroid, and it is currently heading towards the asteroid.


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