Automatic spacecraft “Osiris Rex” aerospace Agency NASA more than two years after the launch overcame more than 124 million kilometers of space and finally entered the orbit of the asteroid Benn. The National management of the USA on Aeronautics and space research said on his page on “Twitter”. The entry into orbit took place on 3 December at about 8 PM Moscow time.
The probe, launched by the ATLAS V launch vehicle in September 2016, took an orbit at an altitude of 4.5 kilometers above the surface of the asteroid with a diameter of about 550 meters, which rotates in an elliptical orbit around the Sun
“Achievement: we finally made it! Our mission @OSIRISREx has reached the orbit of Benn’s asteroid. For almost a year we will carry out mapping and search for a safe place to collect samples,” the report said.
The scientific program of the mission will last about two years. In its course, it is expected that the American probe in March 2021 will take a soil sample of the asteroid, and in September 2023 will drop it in a special capsule in The earth’s atmosphere, so that scientists can conduct its further analysis.
The device is equipped with a solid set of scientific instruments. It has three cameras. With one device will adjust the position of the manipulator TAGSAM, which was tested in the middle of last month. With the help of the manipulator, samples of the asteroid soil will be collected. Another camera shoots in blue, green and red light, as well as in the near infrared. The third is a telescope with which the probe made images of Benn from a distance of several million kilometers from the target. With this camera, the machine will map the surface of Benn.
The on-Board laser altimeter OLA will allow you to create a three-dimensional map of the relief of Bennu. This information will help scientists to choose the most suitable place for the maximum rapprochement of the device with the surface of Bennu and collecting samples of its soil. In addition, various spectrometers installed on the Osiris-Rex will allow the spacecraft to determine the chemical composition of the asteroid, as well as to search for water and organic compounds in its depths.
Scientists believe that the Benn asteroid consists of a nebula, the collapse of which gave rise to the Sun and most of the objects of the Solar system. The mission of the American apparatus can give an answer to the question of the origin of the Solar system