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Friday, August 26, 2016

NASA's spacecraft ready to encounter the asteroid Bennu

Researchers at the US space agency - National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is mounting the last series of spacecraft to study the asteroid Bennu in 2018 in order to get the clues about the origin of life.

"A few more days, the installation of rocket parts finished and we will bring the spacecraft to the Atlas V to begin the journey to Bennu and returned to Earth," said Dante Lauretta, principal investigator for the event, at the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Kanveral, United States.
NASA's OSIRIS-Rex mission will map and study the asteroid Bennu before bringing a sample home. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1dOm1o)
The activity worth one billion US dollars, it is known by the OSIRIS-REx, and the rocket is scheduled to launch on September 8, 2016 from the Cape Kanaveral in Florida.

The solar-powered robotic rocket, made by Lockheed Martin, and designed to deal with asteroid 1999 RQ36, known as Bennu, for two years for mapping and research. Later, the rocket's robotic arm was used to obtain a sample for examination when it back to Earth in 2023.

Researchers are interested in studying the mineral and chemical materials in asteroids. Because they argued similar asteroids ever hit the Earth and is believed to contain organic material and water that allows life.

"We hope to find the material that preceded the age of the solar system at this time," said Lauretta. He added, the physical samples from the Apollo missions to the Moon in the 1960s and 1970s are still widely used today.

"By understanding the chemical elements down to the molecular level, we have to get more samples and bring them to the best laboratories in the country and around the world for the next generation of knowledge," said Jason Dworkin, one of the mission researchers.
NASA's OSIRIS-Rex mission will spend 2 years mapping an asteroid before returning a sample to Earth. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1dOm1o)
Meanwhile, Hayabusa is the first Japanese spacecraft that managed to bring back physical samples of the asteroid to Earth in 2010. Along with sample devices, the Osiris-Rex rocket is also equipped with cameras and sensors, in order to learn the power that influence the direction of the asteroid's orbit.

However, the rocket launch plan for the right to deal with Bennu quite difficult because the prediction calculation is not a perfect science, Lauretta said.

"In fact many unanticipated challenges, such as other power such as solar radiation pressure, even heat emission from the asteroid may affect the movement of the rocket," said Lauretta.

That mission will provide new insight for astronomers to determine the influence of the Sun's heat on the movement of rock in space, said Dworkin.

That information is important to know in order to protect the Earth from asteroids that might hit the planet in the future, he added. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | SPACE]
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