Wednesday, December 7

This is how NASA will try to enter the Earth with an asteroid | Digital Trends Spanish


Spaceship OSIRIS-REx NASA collected a sample of the asteroid bennu in October 2020, and in May 2021 the spacecraft began the return to Earth to drop off that sample. This week. the spacecraft performed a trajectory correction maneuver to keep it heading toward Earth, where it is scheduled to arrive in September 2023.

NASA has also shared more details on how exactly the spacecraft will deliver the asteroid sample to Earth, as this is not a simple process. OSIRIS-REx isn’t designed to be able to handle the incredible heat, friction and other forces required to travel through Earth’s atmosphere, so it doesn’t have a way to land on the surface. Instead, it will fire a capsule filled with the asteroid sample into the atmosphere and only this capsule will reach the surface.

This maneuver will also be tricky, as Mike Moreau, deputy director of the OSIRIS-REx project at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, explained in a release. If the capsule is angled too high, it will jump out of the atmosphere,” Moreau said. “At too low an angle, it will burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.”

This is part of the reason the spacecraft needs to do these trajectory maneuvers, to make sure it ends up in exactly the right place in September of next year so it can jettison the capsule at the right angle.

“Over the next year, we will gradually adjust the OSIRIS-REx trajectory to target the closest spacecraft to Earth,” said Daniel Wibben, lead for trajectory and maneuver design at KinetX Inc., which is the company responsible for navigating the spacecraft. spacecraft. “We have to cross the Earth’s orbit at the time when the Earth will be in that same place.”

The recent trajectory maneuver was the first performed by the spacecraft on the return leg of its journey, with more maneuvers scheduled for July next year. Once the capsule has been released into the atmosphere, it will slow down with a parachute as it descends. The capsule is expected to land at an exact planned location at the Air Force’s Utah Test and Training Range in the Great Salt Lake Desert, from where it can be picked up by the Air Force and Army, and then taken to facilities. for scientific research.

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