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NASA asteroid sampling spacecraft to look at ‘the mess it made’ on Bennu

The moment Osiris-Rex touched Bennus’ surface.

NASA / Goddard / University of Arizona

In October 2020, NASAs The Osiris-Rex spacecraft took a bite out of the asteroid Bennu. Before Osiris-Rex returns to Earth to hand over his bounty, it will resume the stage for the elevator. The spacecraft is performing one last very close flight of Bennu on Wednesday to discover “the extent of the mess it did,”

; NASA announced.

Osiris-Rex was a little greedy during the sampling operation and took one overflowing amount of gravel that had to be stored faster than expected. It left a mark on the asteroid.

“The Osiris-Rex team decided to add this last flyover after Bennus’ surface was significantly disturbed by the sample collection event,” NASA said. “During the touchdown, the spacecraft’s sampling head lowered 48.8 centimeters 1.6 meters into the asteroid’s surface, simultaneously firing a pressurized charge of nitrogen gas.” The thrusters fired to back Osiris-Rex away also disturbed the surface.

NASA has scheduled a flyover for April 7 with the goal of taking pictures of the collection site at a close distance of just 3.7 kilometers away.

Osiris-Rex will continue to hang around Bennu until May 10, when it will begin a two-year return journey back to Earth. The Bennu pieces will be delivered to scientists using a Sample Return Capsule bound by the spacecraft.

Meanwhile, NASA will compare the before-and-after photos of the trial site to see how big a tattoo Osiris-Rex left on Bennu.

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