Published on: September 30, 2023
OSIRIS-REx(Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security – Regolith Explorer)
Why in news? OSIRIS-REx that carried sample from asteroid Bennu, made a successful return to Earth after seven years it was launched.
- Scientists found black dust and debris on the avionics deck of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft
- The spacecraft safely returned to Earth and landed in the Utah desert on, delivering a sample from asteroid Bennu.
- Sample was transported to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. This centre is home to the world’s largest collection of astromaterials and a team of experts specialising in preservation.
How does sample helps the scientist community ?
- Samples carried from mission asteroids like Bennu can act as “time capsules” for the earliest history of our solar system.
- They can preserve chemical signatures when the universe was at younger place.
- It is even possible that they contain samples of the ancient building blocks of life.
- Launch – 2016
- Operator – NASA / Lockheed Martin
- Dual -Objective – NASA asteroid-study and sample-return mission
- NASA asteroid-study – To conduct an in-depth study of asteroid Apophis. NASA refers to this phase of the mission as OSIRIS-APEX (Apophis Explorer)
- sample-return mission – to collect surface samples from Bennu, a carbonaceous near-Earth asteroid, and to return the surface samples to Earth
What is an asteroid ?
- Asteroids are small, rocky objects that orbit the Sun.
- Although asteroids orbit the Sun like planets, they are much smaller than planets.
- Most of them live in the main asteroid belt—a region between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter