STATES CHRONICLE – There were some speculations regarding NASA’s new sampling mission, a couple of people believing that the OSIRIS-REx is meant to collect data from the bringer of Armageddon. However, NASA stated that there is no reason for panic. Asteroid Bennu is not on a collision course with our planet.
According to the Space Agency, asteroid Bennu might collide with our planet at the end of the 22nd century, but that is not the reason why they are sending the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to collect samples from it.
The spacecraft is scheduled to launch in September, and its primary mission is to collect samples and further analyze the density, velocity, and trajectory of the asteroid. One of the main investigators in the OSIRIS-REx mission, Dante Lauretta, from the Planetary and Lunar Laboratory from Arizona University, is not concerned about the possibility of Bennu colliding with our planet.
“We’re not talking about an asteroid that could destroy the Earth. We’re not anywhere near that kind of energy for an impact,” declared Lauretta.
The Asteroid Bennu Sampling Mission
The $800 spacecraft is scheduled to launch on September 8th from Cape Canaveral in Florida. OSIRIS-REx will chase the space rock for two years until the two will meet in August 2018. From that point on, the NASA spacecraft will spend an additional two years in the asteroid’s orbit. The primary goal is for it to collect a minimum of 60 grams (2.1 ounces) of material from the surface by July 2020.
The sample should reach Earth in 2023 where a team of international scientists will study the material collected by the proving, analyzing and testing it in numerous ways.
The mission leader is primarily interested in the role of such primitive, carbon-rich space objects played in the apparition of life on Earth.
“Did these kinds of bodies deliver organic material and water, in the form of hydrated minerals like clays, to the surface of our planet that created the habitability and the environments that may have led to the origin of life?”
Secondary objectives of the asteroid Bennu mission include the advertised planetary-defense angle and learning more about the resources that asteroids such as Bennu could harbor.
The asteroid in question is classified as a potentially dangerous space object. There are 0.037 percent chances that it will hit our planet at the end of the 22nd century.
Image source: Wikipedia