NASA is conducting the first asteroid sample return mission, and has sent invitations for us to see the process live at 4 pm EDT on Monday, May 10.
We can see it from the NASA channel; from their app or from the agency’s website, as well as follow the details from their Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts using #ToBennuAndBack, and ask questions about the mission by commenting on an Instagram story between 12 p.m. EDT, May 10 and 12 p.m. EDT, May 11.
OSIRIS-REx is the name of the mission, the acronym for Origins, spectral interpretation, resource identification, security and regolith explorer. It is the first NASA mission to visit a near-Earth asteroid, study the surface, and collect a sample to deliver to Earth.
During the broadcast, the scientists will reveal new images from the final flyby of the Bennu asteroid mission and discuss the moments they had during the sampling in October 2020.
On the 10th, the day of the fall of the Chinese rocket on Earth, you will receive a confirmation that the spacecraft fired its main thrusters to move away from the orbit of the asteroid Bennu. Thus, OSIRIS-REx, which came to Bennu in 2018, will officially begin its long journey home with 60 grams of asteroid material. It will take two years to return to Earth.
The spacecraft’s thrusters must change their speed by 958 kilometers per hour for the trajectory to cross Earth and be successful. On the return trip, the spacecraft will circle the Sun twice, covering 2.3 billion kilometers to reach Earth.
The scientists plan to analyze the sample to learn about the formation of our solar system and the development of Earth as a habitable planet.