In October 2020, NASAs. 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,”
Osiris-Rex was a little greedy during the sampling operation and took onethat 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.
Follow CNET’s 2021 space calendar to stay up to date with all the latest space news this year. You can even add it to your own Google Calendar.