AUG 28, 2017 2:23 PM PDT

NASA Adjusts the Course of the OSIRIS-REx Mission

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission launched almost a year ago with the primary goal of visiting Bennu, an asteroid expected to tango closely with the Earth in August of 2018.

OSIRIS-REx won’t land on Bennu’s surface, but it will get close enough to kick up some dust and collect samples to be returned to Earth, allowing scientists to analyze the results for the sake of science.

An artist's impression of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft performing a Deep Space Maneuver.

Image Credit: NASA

OSIRIS-REx currently resides 10.3 million miles away from the Earth and will use the planet’s gravitational pull as a slingshot mechanism on September 22nd to get into position for Bennu. The stunt will ensure that OSIRIS-REx gets where it needs to be when the time comes, but just recently, the probe needed slight repositioning.

NASA initiated a Deep Space Maneuver (DSM) at 1 P.M. EST on August 23rd to guide the probe into the right path. The task involved activating the spacecraft's internal momentum wheel to combat the effects of microgravity and turn the spacecraft in the right direction for thruster firing.

The thruster burn lasted approximately 77 seconds, which was enough to alter the spacecraft’s velocity by ~1.07 miles per hour. The feat used just 16 ounces of onboard fuel, leaving enough left over for future adjustments if necessary.

By September 12th, another thruster burn may be required to finalize OSIRIS-REx’s positioning, but engineers are still assessing whether it’ll be necessary.

The precision of these kinds of maneuvers is critical. Otherwise, the probe would be sent off course and ruin the entire mission. Fortunately, NASA has talented engineers working out the math.

The information collected by OSIRIS-REx is imperative for better understanding Bennu and other similar asteroids. The fact that Bennu threatens to collide with the Earth sometime between 2175 and 2199 only strengthens the argument for studying it.

Related: A massive asteroid is set to pass Earth closely on September 1st, 2017

It should be interesting to see the results of the gravitational slingshot, as well as what kinds of data we’ll receive when OSIRIS-REx meets Bennu next year.

Source: NASA

About the Author
Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
AUG 05, 2022
Chemistry & Physics
Dark Matter Revealed from 12 billion Years Ago
AUG 05, 2022
Dark Matter Revealed from 12 billion Years Ago
Dark Matter is a mysterious matter which accounts for about 85% of the overall matter in our Universe. The reason it is ...
AUG 15, 2022
Chemistry & Physics
Astronomers Witnessed the Merging of Two Black Holes That Were Born Far Apart in Space
AUG 15, 2022
Astronomers Witnessed the Merging of Two Black Holes That Were Born Far Apart in Space
Think of our spacetime as fabric. When we place something in it, the fabric curves. This is what happens every ...
SEP 09, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Perseverance Likes Green Sand with Red Sand
SEP 09, 2022
Perseverance Likes Green Sand with Red Sand
In an array of studies, one published in Science Advances and two published in Science, a large international team of re ...
OCT 18, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Astronomers Have Discovered the Heaviest Element in the Atmosphere of an Exoplanet to Date
OCT 18, 2022
Astronomers Have Discovered the Heaviest Element in the Atmosphere of an Exoplanet to Date
In a new study published in Astronomy & Astrophysics, astronomers have discovered the heaviest element ever found in ...
NOV 06, 2022
Space & Astronomy
New Evidence Suggests Ancient Northern Ocean on Red Planet
NOV 06, 2022
New Evidence Suggests Ancient Northern Ocean on Red Planet
In a recent study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, a pair of researchers examined topographic ...
NOV 13, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Black Hole Plasma Illuminated by X-Rays
NOV 13, 2022
Black Hole Plasma Illuminated by X-Rays
In a recent study published in Science, an international team of researchers led by the Washington University in St. Lou ...
Loading Comments...