NASA first explorer spacecraft took off to asteroid to bring back samples
Round trip, the spacecraft is expected to travel for more than 6 billion kilometers before the mission’s end in 2023.
NASA first explorer of its kind has been flied off on a seven-year quest mission, following after a big, black, undiscovered asteroid to obtain a few handfuls of gravel for return to Earth.
These bite-size bits of ancient space rock from asteroid Bennu could hold result about the origin of life, not just on our planet but potentially elsewhere in the solar system. Thousands gathered to witness the evening launch of Osiris-Rex, a robotic hunter that looks something like a bird with its solar wings. The spacecraft took flight atop an Atlas V rocket.
|DISCOVERING A NEW HORIZONS: thousands of people came to witness the launch of an Atlas V rocket at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.|
A successful victory was declared after the launch late on Thursday; launch controllers shook hands and embraced as the spacecraft shot out of Earth’s orbit, bound for Bennu.
“Tonight is a night for celebration. We are on our way to an asteroid,” said NASA’s chief scientist, Ellen Stofan. “We got everything just exactly perfect,” added Osiris-Rex chief scientist Dante Lauretta of the University of Arizona. It will take two years for Osiris-Rex to reach Bennu, which is circling the sun in a slightly wider orbit than Earth’s. The boxy spacecraft will actually go into orbit around the asteroid, seeking out the best spot before going in for a quick bite.
Osiris-Rex will hover like a hummingbird over Bennu, according to Mr. Lauretta, as the spacecraft’s three-metre mechanical arm touches down on the surface for three to five seconds. Thrusters will burst out nitrogen gas to stir up the surface, and the loose particles will be sucked up into the device.
Round trip, the spacecraft will travel more than 6 billion kilometers by the mission’s end in 2023.
Keywords: NASA spaceship, undiscovered asteroid, solar, rocket,planet.