Topics Covered: Awareness in space.
On May 11, NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft will depart asteroid Bennu, and start its two-year long journey back to Earth.
About the mission:
- OSIRIS-REx is NASA’s first mission to visit a near-Earth asteroid, survey its surface and collect a sample from it.
- In October 2020, the spacecraft briefly touched asteroid Bennu, from where it collected samples of dust and pebbles.
- The mission was launched in 2016.
About asteroid Bennu:
Bennu is considered to be an ancient asteroid that has not gone through a lot of composition-altering change through billions of years, which means that below its surface lie chemicals and rocks from the birth of the solar system.
- Therefore, scientists and researchers are interested in studying this asteroid as it might give them clues about the origins of the solar system, the sun, the Earth and the other planets.
- So far, we know that Bennu is a B-type asteroid, implying that it contains significant amounts of carbon and various other minerals.
- Because of its high carbon content, the asteroid reflects about four per cent of the light that hits it, which is very low when compared with a planet like Venus, which reflects about 65 per cent of the light that hits it. Earth reflects about 30 per cent.
- Objectives of OSIRIS- REx.
- What are near earth asteroids?
- About Bennu.
Discuss the objectives of OSIRIS- REx.
Sources: Indian Express.