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NASA's spacecraft OSIRIS-REx arrives at its targeted asteroid Bennu

Published on December 08, 2018
NASA's first-ever OSIRIS-REx mission designed to visit an asteroid and return sample of its dust back to Earth reached its destination - Bennu, two years after its launch.
NASA's spacecraft OSIRIS-REx arrives at its targeted asteroid Bennu
  • It will use its suite of five science instruments to study the asteroid for the next year and a half.

About OSIRIS-Rex:

  • OSIRIS-Rex stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer.
  • It was launched in September 2016 for studying 101955 Bennu, a carbonaceous asteroid.
  • It is NASA's first asteroid sampling mission i.e. it will survey the surface, collect sample and deliver it safely back to Earth.
  • It will regularly observe area around the asteroid to search for dust plumes and natural satellites and study its light and spectral properties.
  • It will return to Earth after collecting some of its gravels by 2023.
  • It will capture 60 grams dirt and debris from surface of asteroid using its robotic arm without landing i.e. by hovering like a hummingbird stirred up by nitrogen gas thrusters and then to Earth for detailed analysis of the collected samples.

About Bennu:

  • Bennu is a near-Earth carbonaceous asteroid about the size of a small mountain in the Apollo group. 
  • It was discovered in September 1999 by the LINEAR Project.
  • It orbits close to Earth's path around the Sun. 
  • It is one of the oldest asteroids known to NASA.
  • It is a carbon-rich asteroid and believed to be the type of asteroids that may have chemical building blocks of life, along with lots of water.
  • So, analysis of returned sample from it could help to reveal key insights about early solar system and the origin of life on Earth.
  • It is a potentially hazardous asteroid and there is very slight chance it could strike into Earth in the late 22nd century.

One must know:

  • NASA's OSIRIS-REx is not world's first asteroid sampling mission. 
  • This distinction is held by Japanese space agency JAXA.
  • It had proved world's first sample collection from an asteroid after its Hayabusa spacecraft crash-landed into the surface of its target asteroid and managed to return a few micrograms of material in 2010.


Q. NASA's spacecraft OSIRIS-REx arrives at which of its targeted asteroid after a 2-year journey?
a. Mennu
b. Rennu
c. Bennu
d. Sennu

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