NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Probe Successfully Stows Space-Rock Sample

NASA’s pioneering OSIRIS-REx probe has bagged up its precious asteroid sample for return to Earth.

OSIRIS-REx has finished stowing the bits of the carbon-rich asteroid Bennu that it snagged last Tuesday (Oct. 20), successfully locking the material into the spacecraft’s return capsule, mission team members announced Thursday (Oct. 29).

And the sample appears to be substantial—far heftier than the 2.1 ounces (60 grams) the mission had set as a target, team members said. Indeed, OSIRIS-REx collected so much material on Oct. 20 that its sampling head couldn’t close properly; the head’s sealing mylar flap was wedged open in places by protruding Bennu pebbles.

The OSIRIS-REx team noticed that issue last week when examining photos of the head and its collected sample; flakes of escaped asteroid material drifted through the frames. To minimize the amount lost, the team decided to expedite the precise and complex stowing procedure, which was supposed to

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NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Goes for Early Stow of Asteroid Sample

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Goes for Early Stow of Asteroid Sample

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2020

WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission is ready to perform an early stow on Tuesday, Oct. 27, of the large sample it collected last week from the surface of the asteroid Bennu to protect and return as much of the sample as possible.

This illustration shows NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft stowing the sample it collected from asteroid Bennu on Oct. 20, 2020. The spacecraft will use its Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) arm to place the TAGSAM collector head into the Sample Return Capsule (SRC).
This illustration shows NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft stowing the sample it collected from asteroid Bennu on Oct. 20, 2020. The spacecraft will use its Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) arm to place the TAGSAM collector head into the Sample Return Capsule (SRC).

On Oct. 22, the OSIRIS-REx mission team received images that showed the spacecraft’s collector head overflowing with material collected from Bennu’s surface – well over the two-ounce (60-gram) mission requirement – and that some of these particles appeared to be slowly escaping from the

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Bennu Asteroid Particles Leaking From NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft

KEY POINTS

  • About 5 to 10 grams of Bennu’s surface particle samples are diffusing out in space
  • Particles escape slowly from flaps of the spacecraft’s Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism
  • The mission team remains positive to bring home abundant samples for future studies 

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx team’s mission to collect samples from asteroid Bennu was successful so much so that particles are diffusing out from the spacecraft. The mission team was tasked to collect at least 2 ounces or 60 grams of the Bennu’s surface material. 

Upon review of the images they obtained as they performed the collection, the team noticed that the sample collector head of the  OSIRIS-REx appeared to be full. However, the images reveal that the particles are somewhat escaping slowly from the part of the spacecraft called the Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism or TAGSAM.

The team suspected that they collected abundant sample particles from Bennu that excess materials

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NASA’s OSIRIS-REx collects science treasure from asteroid Bennu

Last Oct. 20, 200 million miles from a planet troubled by a pandemic, civil strife and, in America, a contentious election, NASA accomplished one of those feats that the space agency has become famous for. 

A space probe called OSIRIS-REx reached out and touched an asteroid named Bennu and collected a small amount of soil and pebbles left over from the formation of the solar system. In the fullness of time, OSIRIS-REx will carry this science treasure back to Earth, where it is eagerly awaited by researchers.

When OSIRIS-REx launched just over four years ago, scientists thought that the surface of Bennu was smooth, like a sandy beach. When the probe moved into orbit around the Earth-approaching asteroid, scientists discovered, much to their surprise, that Bennu’s surface was strewn with rubble and boulders. The plan to reach out and touch the surface became just a little more complicated.

Fortunately, NASA

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What NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Mission Could Teach Us

There is absolutely nothing inherently special about the asteroid Bennu. A loosely-packed agglomeration of dust and rock about as big across as the Empire State Building and currently 322 million km (200 million mi.) from Earth as it orbits the sun, it is just one of about a million asteroids that astronomers have identified and catalogued. But on Tuesday, Bennu became the most famous asteroid in the solar system, after NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft made contact with it for a dramatic six seconds to blast loose and collect a sample.

“I must have watched about a hundred times last night,” said Dante Lauretta, the missions’s principal investigator, during a press conference yesterday, while talking about a video clip recorded by the probe during its harrowing maneuver, seen below. “We really did make a mess on the surface of this asteroid, but it’s a good mess.”

NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

Asteroids are

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NASA OSIRIS-REX Mission Springs Leak After Touching Asteroid

NASA’s effort to grab a piece of an asteroid on Tuesday may have worked a little too well. The spacecraft, OSIRIS-REX, grabbed so much rock and dirt that some of the material is now leaking back into space.

The operation some 200 million miles from Earth on the other side of the sun was “almost too successful,” Dante Lauretta, the principal investigator of the mission, said during a telephone news conference on Friday. NASA officials worried that without careful effort to secure its samples in the days ahead, the mission could lose much of the scientific payload it traveled for years across the solar system to gather.

A few rocks wedged in the robotic probe’s collection mechanism prevented a flap from fully closing. In images taken by the spacecraft, scientists could see bits of asteroid coming out. Dr. Lauretta estimated that each image showed about 5 to 10 grams —

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NASA Works To Head Off Losing Too Much Osiris-Rex Asteroid Dust

NASA said Friday that its robotic spacecraft Osiris-Rex had succeeded in collecting a large sample of particles from the Bennu asteroid this week — but so much that it was leaking.

The team in charge of the probe is now working to quickly stow the remaining samples that would eventually be delivered back to Earth to provide key scientific insights.

“A substantial fraction of the required collected mass is seen escaping,” mission chief Dante Lauretta said in a phone briefing with journalists.

This NASA frame grab from a gif series captured by Osiris-Rex's camera on October 22, 2020 shows the sampler head on the spacecraft full of rocks and dust collected from the surface of the asteroid Bennu This NASA frame grab from a gif series captured by Osiris-Rex’s camera on October 22, 2020 shows the sampler head on the spacecraft full of rocks and dust collected from the surface of the asteroid Bennu Photo: NASA / Handout

Osiris-Rex is set to come home in September 2023, hopefully with the largest sample returned from space since the Apollo era, which will help unravel the origins of

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NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft collects significant amount of asteroid — ScienceDaily

Two days after touching down on asteroid Bennu, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission team received on Thursday, Oct. 22, images that confirm the spacecraft has collected more than enough material to meet one of its main mission requirements — acquiring at least 2 ounces (60 grams) of the asteroid’s surface material.

The spacecraft captured images of the sample collector head as it moved through several different positions. In reviewing these images, the OSIRIS-REx team noticed both that the head appeared to be full of asteroid particles, and that some of these particles appeared to be escaping slowly from the sample collector, called the Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) head. They suspect bits of material are passing through small gaps where a mylar flap — the collector’s “lid” — is slightly wedged open by larger rocks.

“Bennu continues to surprise us with great science and also throwing a few curveballs,” said Thomas Zurbuchen,

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NASA’s OSIRIS-REx was so good at grabbing asteroid rocks that they’re overflowing

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft did its job a little too well on Tuesday, when it tried to scoop up a handful of rocks from an asteroid named Bennu more than 200 million miles from Earth. The vehicle actually grabbed too much material with its robotic arm, jamming the lid at the end of the arm open — and letting part of the asteroid sample escape out into space.

“We were almost a victim of our own success here,” said Dante Lauretta, the principal investigator for the OSIRIS-REx mission at the University of Arizona, in a press conference.

OSIRIS-REx’s mission is to bring a sample of asteroid material back to Earth so that scientists can study the rocks in a lab. But because OSIRIS-REx bit off more than it could chew, its mission team is racing to stow the sample inside the spacecraft’s belly, so the vehicle doesn’t lose too much material

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Watch OSIRIS-REx take a bite out of asteroid Bennu’s surface

The sample collection process was a carefully orchestrated dance. OSIRIS-REx extended its 2 meter (6.6 foot) TAGSAM robotic arm with the 30 cm (1 foot) wide sampling head attached, while folding in its solar panels to protect them. The probe then slowly approached the surface, eventually touching down to within a single meter (3.3 feet) of the selected target. The entire process was monitored by the SamCam imaging camera mounted above the arm.

The camera shows the TAGSAM head approaching and then impacting Bennu’s surface at just 0.2 mph, penetrating in to the regolith. At first, it appears to crush some porous rocks below, and then a second later, fires a nitrogen gas bottle. That stirred up “a substantial amount of the sample site’s material,” NASA said, to put it mildly. It spent around five to six seconds collecting material, with the majority gathered in the first three seconds.

The

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