OSIRIS REx Asteroid sample and return mission

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allynh
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Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2008 12:51 am

OSIRIS REx Asteroid sample and return mission

Unread post by allynh » Mon May 04, 2020 8:24 pm

This is a continuation of the thread on Forum 2.0.

OSIRIS REx Asteroid sample and return mission
https://www.thunderbolts.info/forum/php ... 52#p121374

OSIRIS-REx Descended Down to Just 75 Meters Above the Surface of Bennu in a Recent Test
https://www.universetoday.com/145804/os ... cent-test/
April 27, 2020 by Evan Gough

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is getting ready for its big moment. OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer) is at asteroid Bennu, preparing to collect a sample of ancient rock. And collecting that sample means taking step after meticulous step.

OSIRIS-REx performed a series of rehearsal maneuvers in recent weeks. Each of these maneuvers brought it closer to Bennu’s surface, before the spacecraft retreated into orbit again. Eventually, it will perform its risky touch-and-go sampling procedure.

The most recent maneuver was the “Checkpoint” maneuver. Checkpoint brought the spacecraft to within 75 meters (246 ft) of Bennu’s surface. Previous maneuvers saw it approach within 620 meters (2034 ft), then 250 meters (820 ft.)

The Checkpoint Rehearsal was the most recent rehearsal maneuver, as OSIRIS-REx inches closer toward its goal: sample collection from asteroid Bennu. Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona.

The Checkpoint Rehearsal was the most recent rehearsal maneuver, as OSIRIS-REx inches closer toward its goal: sample collection from asteroid Bennu. Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona.

OSIRIS-REx is a long way away from Earth, and its sampling operation will all be done autonomously. The latest maneuver is called Checkpoint because at 75 meters away from the surface, the spacecraft’s autonomous system will check its position and velocity and adjust its trajectory before continuing to the surface.

In this maneuver, it reached its Checkpoint for the first time. Since this is only a rehearsal, OSIRIS-REx then performed its checkpoint burn and backed away from the asteroid, to orbit at a safe distance.

During these increasingly close approaches, NASA’s spacecraft is capturing a wealth of images of its sampling site. These images are stored onboard as part of the spacecraft’s Natural Feature Tracking (NFT) system. When the time for the sampling maneuver comes, OSIRIS-REx will compare its real-time images from its cameras to its onboard images, and will use those comparisons to guide itself down to the sampling site on Bennu’s boulder-strewn surface.

Nightingale is the primary sampling site for NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. When the mission was planned, NASA personnel didn’t think that the surface of Bennu would be so littered with boulders. That’s made the sampling maneuver more challenging. Image Credit: NASA

During the Checkpoint maneuver OSIRIS-REx also deployed its sampling mechanism, the Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism, or TAGSAM. Normally TAGSAM is folded onto the spacecraft, and this test of its deployment was successful. Numerous instruments on OSIRIS-REx also gathered data during this closest-yet approach.

This artist’s concept shows the trajectory and configuration of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft during Checkpoint rehearsal, which was the first time the mission practiced the initial steps of collecting a sample from asteroid Bennu. Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

This artist’s concept shows the trajectory and configuration of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft during Checkpoint rehearsal, which was the first time the mission practiced the initial steps of collecting a sample from asteroid Bennu. Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

When it is time to collect the sample, OSIRIS-REx will descend to the surface, but the spacecraft itself won’t land. Instead, TAGSAM will be deployed to the surface. TAGSAM will emit a puff of nitrogen to kick up dust from the asteroid. The nitrogen will propel small pieces of the regolith into TAGSAM’s sampling head. There are also passive contact pads on the end of the instrument that will collect samples.

The goal is to collect 60 grams (2.1 oz) of material in particles smaller than 2 cm (0.8 in).

The Natural Feature Tracking system will guide OSIRIS-REx down to the surface, and there’s enough fuel for multiple attempts. TAGSAM also has enough nitrogen for three sample-collection attempts, should there be problems.

During the sample collection event, Natural Feature Tracking (NFT) will guide NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to asteroid Bennu’s surface. The spacecraft takes real-time images of the asteroid’s surface features as it descends, and then compares these images with an onboard image catalog. The spacecraft then uses these geographical markers to orient itself and accurately target the touchdown site. Credits: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

During the sample collection event, Natural Feature Tracking (NFT) will guide NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to asteroid Bennu’s surface. The spacecraft takes real-time images of the asteroid’s surface features as it descends, and then compares these images with an onboard image catalog. The spacecraft then uses these geographical markers to orient itself and accurately target the touchdown site. Credits: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

The latest maneuver was also a successful test for the NFT. NASA confirmed that NFT performed well, saying in a press release “Checkpoint rehearsal also gave the team confirmation that OSIRIS-REx’s Natural Feature Tracking (NFT) guidance system accurately estimated the spacecraft’s position and speed relative to Bennu as it descended toward the surface.”

“This rehearsal let us verify flight system performance during the descent, particularly the autonomous update and execution of the Checkpoint burn,” said Rich Burns, OSIRIS-REx project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “Executing this monumental milestone during this time of national crisis is a testament to the professionalism and focus of our team. It speaks volumes about their ‘can-do’ attitude and hopefully will serve as a bit of good news in these challenging times.”

The April 2020 sample collection rehearsal that brought OSIRIS-REx 65 m (213 ft) from the surface. In this series of SamCam images the TAGSAM arm is fully extended and the Nightingale sample site comes into view at the top of the frame. Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona.

OSIRIS-REx’s first sampling attempt is scheduled for August 25th. TAGSAM will contact the surface for about five seconds, and collect its sample. If all goes well, that sample should be returned to Earth on September 24th, 2023.

More:

Press Release: One Step Closer To Touching Asteroid Bennu
Wikipedia Entry: OSIRIS-REx
Universe Today: OSIRIS-REx has Finally Caught up with Asteroid Bennu. Let the Analysis and Sample Collection Commence!

allynh
Posts: 965
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2008 12:51 am

Re: OSIRIS REx Asteroid sample and return mission

Unread post by allynh » Mon Aug 10, 2020 6:19 pm

The actual sample mission will be October 20th. Notice where they mention them following Covid-19 precautions. Yikes!

OSIRIS-REx is One Rehearsal Away from Touching Asteroid Bennu
https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/20 ... hing-bennu
NASA’s first asteroid sampling spacecraft is making final preparations to grab a sample from asteroid Bennu’s surface. Next week, the OSIRIS-REx mission will conduct a second rehearsal of its touchdown sequence, practicing the sample collection activities one last time before touching down on Bennu this fall.

On Aug. 11, the mission will perform its “Matchpoint” rehearsal – the second practice run of the Touch-and-Go (TAG) sample collection event. The rehearsal will be similar to the Apr. 14 “Checkpoint” rehearsal, which practiced the first two maneuvers of the descent, but this time the spacecraft will add a third maneuver, called the Matchpoint burn, and fly even closer to sample site Nightingale – reaching an altitude of approximately 131 ft (40 m) – before backing away from the asteroid.

graphic of asteroid with spacecraft and flight path
This artist’s concept shows the trajectory and configuration of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft during Matchpoint rehearsal, which is the final time the mission will practice the initial steps of the sample collection sequence before touching down on asteroid Bennu.
Credits: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona
This second rehearsal will be the first time the spacecraft executes the Matchpoint maneuver to then fly in tandem with Bennu’s rotation. The rehearsal also gives the team a chance to become more familiar navigating the spacecraft through all of the descent maneuvers, while verifying that the spacecraft’s imaging, navigation and ranging systems operate as expected during the event.

During the descent, the spacecraft fires its thrusters three separate times to make its way down to the asteroid’s surface. The spacecraft will travel at an average speed of around 0.2 mph (0.3 kph) during the approximately four-hour excursion. Matchpoint rehearsal begins with OSIRIS-REx firing its thrusters to leave its 0.5-mile (870-m) safe-home orbit. The spacecraft then extends its robotic sampling arm – the Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) – from its folded, parked position out to the sample collection configuration. Immediately following, the spacecraft rotates to begin collecting navigation images for the Natural Feature Tracking (NFT) guidance system. NFT allows OSIRIS-REx to autonomously navigate to Bennu’s surface by comparing an onboard image catalog with the real-time navigation images taken during descent. As the spacecraft approaches the surface, the NFT system updates the spacecraft’s predicted point of contact depending on OSIRIS-REx’s position in relation to Bennu’s landmarks.

The spacecraft’s two solar panels then move into a “Y-wing” configuration that safely positions them up and away from the asteroid’s surface. This configuration also places the spacecraft’s center of gravity directly over the TAGSAM collector head, which is the only part of the spacecraft that will contact Bennu’s surface during the sample collection event.

When OSIRIS-REx reaches an altitude of approximately 410 ft (125 m), it performs the Checkpoint burn and descends more steeply toward Bennu’s surface for another eight minutes. At approximately 164 ft (50 m) above the asteroid, the spacecraft fires its thrusters a third time for the Matchpoint burn. This maneuver slows the spacecraft’s rate of descent and adjusts its trajectory to match Bennu’s rotation as the spacecraft makes final corrections to target the touchdown spot. OSIRIS-REx will continue capturing images of Bennu’s landmarks for the NFT system to update the spacecraft’s trajectory for another three minutes of descent. This brings OSIRIS-REx to its targeted destination around 131 ft (40 m) from Bennu – the closest it has ever been to the asteroid. With the rehearsal complete, the spacecraft executes a back-away burn, returns its solar panels to their original position and reconfigures the TAGSAM arm back to the parked position.

During the rehearsal, the one-way light time for signals to travel between Earth and the spacecraft will be approximately 16 minutes, which prevents the live commanding of flight activities from the ground. So prior to the rehearsal’s start, the OSIRIS-REx team will uplink all of the event’s commands to the spacecraft, allowing OSIRIS-REx to perform the rehearsal sequence autonomously after the GO command is given. Also during the event, the spacecraft’s low gain antenna will be its only antenna pointing toward Earth, transmitting data at the very slow rate of 40 bits per second. So while the OSIRIS-REx team will be able to monitor the spacecraft’s vital signs, the images and science data collected during the event won’t be downlinked until the rehearsal is complete. The team will experience these same circumstances during the actual TAG event in October.

Following Matchpoint rehearsal, the OSIRIS-REx team will verify the flight system’s performance during the descent, including that the Matchpoint burn accurately adjusted the spacecraft’s descent trajectory for its touchdown on Bennu. Once the mission team determines that OSIRIS-REx operated as expected, they will command the spacecraft to return to its safe-home orbit around Bennu.

The mission team has spent the last several months preparing for the Matchpoint rehearsal while maximizing remote work as part of its COVID-19 response. On the day of rehearsal, a limited number of personnel will monitor the spacecraft from Lockheed Martin Space’s facility, taking appropriate safety precautions, while the rest of the team performs their roles remotely. The mission implemented a similar protocol during the Checkpoint rehearsal in April.

On Oct. 20, the spacecraft will travel all the way to the asteroid’s surface during its first sample collection attempt. During this event, OSIRIS-REx’s sampling mechanism will touch Bennu’s surface for approximately five seconds, fire a charge of pressurized nitrogen to disturb the surface and collect a sample before the spacecraft backs away. The spacecraft is scheduled to return the sample to Earth on Sept. 24, 2023.

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland provides overall mission management, systems engineering, and the safety and mission assurance for OSIRIS-REx. Dante Lauretta of the University of Arizona, Tucson, is the principal investigator, and the University of Arizona also leads the science team and the mission’s science observation planning and data processing. Lockheed Martin Space in Denver built the spacecraft and is providing flight operations. Goddard and KinetX Aerospace are responsible for navigating the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. OSIRIS-REx is the third mission in NASA’s New Frontiers Program, which is managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

By Brittany Enos

University of Arizona

Last Updated: Aug. 6, 2020

Editor: Karl Hille
Why does the choral music from 2001 a Space Odyssey start running through my head when I read this stuff about "touching" the black object floating in space.

2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY 03 Requiem for Soprano, Mezzo Soprano, Two Mixed Choirs & Orchestra
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3escvQEziag

allynh
Posts: 965
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2008 12:51 am

Re: OSIRIS REx Asteroid sample and return mission

Unread post by allynh » Wed Oct 21, 2020 5:54 pm

We will have to wait for Osiris-Rex to transmit to the Earth to know what has actually happened.

Elation as Nasa's Osiris-Rex probe tags asteroid Bennu in sample bid
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-54624653
18 hours ago
By Jonathan Amos
BBC Science Correspondent

Elation in mission controlLockheed Martin Space
High-fives: Controllers at Lockheed Martin celebrate the touch and go
America's Osiris-Rex spacecraft has completed its audacious tag-and-go manoeuvre designed to grab surface rock from an asteroid.

Radio signals from 330 million km away confirm the probe made contact with the 500m-wide object known as Bennu.

But the Nasa-led mission will have to wait on further data from Osiris-Rex before it's known for sure that material was actually picked up.

The aim was to acquire at least 60g, perhaps even a kilo or more.

Because Bennu is a very primitive space object, scientists say its surface grit and dust could hold fascinating clues about the chemistry that brought the Sun and the planets into being more than 4.5 billion years ago.

Artwork: Osiris-Rex approaching the surface of Asteroid BennuNASA/Goddard/UoA
Artwork: Osiris-Rex approaching the surface of Asteroid Bennu

"The team is exuberant; emotions are high; everyone is really proud," said principal investigator Dante Lauretta from the University of Arizona, Tucson.

"This was the key milestone of this mission. Now it's a few days to figure out how much of this amazing sample we got that we've been thinking about for decades," added Thomas Zurbuchen, Nasa's associate administrator for science.

Both men were following events from mission control at spacecraft manufacturer Lockheed Martin.

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Dinosaur asteroid's trajectory was 'perfect storm'

Assuming there is a suitable sample safely aboard, the probe will be able to package it for return to Earth, scheduled for 2023.

If not, the mission team will have to configure Osiris-Rex for another go.

The spacecraft made its sample bid in a narrow patch of northern terrain on Bennu dubbed Nightingale.

The probe descended slowly to the 8m-wide target zone over a period of four-and-a-half hours, squeezing past some imposing boulders on the way, including a two-storey-high block that had been dubbed Mount Doom.

Osiris-Rex used what some have described as a "reverse vacuum cleaner" to make its surface grab.

Bennu size comparison with Empire State Building
More properly called the Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism, or Tag-Sam, this device is a long boom with a ring-shaped collection chamber on the end.

The idea was to push the ring into the surface and at the same moment express a stream of nitrogen gas to kick up small fragments of rock.

Sensors on Osiris-Rex reported back to mission controllers that all the actions in the sampling sequence had been completed successfully, and that the spacecraft had backed away from Bennu as planned after a few seconds of contact.

But the science and engineering team will need time to assess what exactly might have been caught in the collection chamber.

One way to do this is to photograph the ring head. This will be done in the coming days.

But controllers will also command the spacecraft to spin itself around with the boom and Tag-Sam ring outstretched. Any extra mass on board will change the amount of torque required to turn the probe, compared with the amount needed to perform the same rotation exercise prior to sample acquisition.

This measurement technique will give a quantity precise to within a few 10s of grams.

Tag-SamLockheed Martin Space
The Tag-Sam during testing at Lockheed Martin prior to Osiris-Rex's launch in 2016
Osisris-Rex took pictures all the way through its descent but could not send any of these home at the time because its high-gain antenna was not pointed at Earth.

Once the probe has re-established this connection, the data can be downlinked.

"Those images are going to tell us an enormous amount of information about how the events of today went," said Prof Lauretta. "For one thing they will tell us about the likelihood of sample collection, a kind of probabilistic assessment."

Nasa promises to release some of these pictures on Wednesday.

Numerous scientists, including in the UK, are hoping to get the chance to analyse any materials brought back from Bennu - among them Sara Russell from London's Natural History Museum.

"Asteroids like Bennu formed in the very, very earliest times of the Solar System. They are basically the building blocks of the planets - a time capsule that will tell us how the Sun and the planets came into being and evolved. Bennu can really help us to drill down into how that process actually happens," she told BBC News.

NASA/Goddard/UoA
Bennu contains chemistry preserved from the dawn of the Solar System

allynh
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Re: OSIRIS REx Asteroid sample and return mission

Unread post by allynh » Thu Oct 22, 2020 3:43 am

PBS Nova just aired the episode.

Touching the Asteroid
Spacecraft OSIRIS-REx attempts to grab a piece of an asteroid to bring it back to Earth.
https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/video/tou ... -asteroid/

The episode was of course full of myths, but still interesting.

What I had to chuckle about was the mention at 17:38 of the Rosetta mission when they thought it was a giant dirty snowball and they were going to use harpoons to anchor the probe. In this episode there was no mention of the "dirty snowball", they are acting as if they always knew that it was rock, soft rock, but rock. HA!

allynh
Posts: 965
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2008 12:51 am

Re: OSIRIS REx Asteroid sample and return mission

Unread post by allynh » Fri Oct 23, 2020 5:44 pm

Here is their first page for the sample collection. I added the links to the various videos shown in the article. Some of them are really scary.

From the PBS Nova episode mentioned above, they literally thought that Bennu would be like a sandy beach.

Oct. 21, 2020

OSIRIS-REx TAGs Surface of Asteroid Bennu
https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/20 ... oid-bennu/
Captured on Oct. 20, 2020 during the OSIRIS-REx mission’s Touch-And-Go (TAG) sample collection event, this series of images shows the SamCam imager’s field of view as the NASA spacecraft approaches and touches down on asteroid Bennu’s surface, over 200 million miles (321 million km) away from Earth. The sampling event brought the spacecraft all the way down to sample site Nightingale, touching down within three feet (one meter) of the targeted location. The team on Earth received confirmation at 6:08 p.m. EDT that successful touchdown occurred. Preliminary data show the one-foot-wide (0.3-meter-wide) sampling head touched Bennu’s surface for approximately 6 seconds, after which the spacecraft performed a back-away burn.

OSIRIS-REx Sample Collection at Asteroid Bennu: SamCam View of TAGSAM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJBv4reH9IU

Captured on Oct. 20, during the OSIRIS-REx mission’s Touch-And-Go (TAG) sample collection event, this series of 82 images shows the SamCam imager’s field of view as the NASA spacecraft approaches and touches down on asteroid Bennu’s surface. The sampling event brought the spacecraft all the way down to sample site Nightingale, and the team on Earth received confirmation of successful touchdown at 6:08 p.m. EDT. Preliminary data show the sampling head touched Bennu’s surface for approximately 6 seconds, after which the spacecraft performed a back-away burn.

Credits: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

Download full-resolution versions of related multimedia at NASA Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio
https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/13744

The spacecraft’s sampling arm – called the Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) – is visible in the lower part of the frame. The round head at the end of TAGSAM is the only part of OSIRIS-REx that contacted the surface during the sample collection event. In the middle of the image sequence, the sampling head positions itself to contact the asteroid’s surface head-on. Shortly after, the sampling head impacts site Nightingale and penetrates Bennu’s regolith. Upon initial contact, the TAGSAM head appears to crush some of the porous rocks underneath it. One second later, the spacecraft fires a nitrogen gas bottle, which mobilizes a substantial amount of the sample site’s material. Preliminary data show the spacecraft spent approximately 5 of the 6 seconds of contact collecting surface material, and the majority of sample collection occurred within the first 3 seconds.

two grayscale frames showing OSIRIS-REx TAGSAM contacting Bennu
https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/file ... frames.gif

Captured on Oct. 20 during the OSIRIS-REx mission’s Touch-And-Go (TAG) sample collection event, this series of 2 images shows the SamCam imager’s field of view at the moment before and after the NASA spacecraft touched down on asteroid Bennu’s surface. The sampling event brought the spacecraft all the way down to sample site Nightingale, and the team on Earth received confirmation of successful touchdown at 6:08 p.m. EDT. Preliminary data show the sampling head touched Bennu’s surface for approximately 6 seconds, after which the spacecraft performed a back-away burn.

Credits: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

Download full-resolution versions of related multimedia at NASA Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio
https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/13744

The TAGSAM is designed to catch the agitated surface material, and the mission team will assess the amount of material collected through various spacecraft activities. After touchdown, the spacecraft fired its thrusters to back away from Bennu. As expected, this maneuver also disturbed the Nightingale site, and loose debris is visible near the end of the image sequence. Preliminary telemetry shows the spacecraft remains in good health. The spacecraft was traveling at 0.2 mph (10 cm/sec) when it contacted sample site Nightingale and then backed away at 0.9 mph (40 cm/sec).

These images were captured over approximately a five-minute period. The imaging sequence begins at about 82 feet (25 meters) above the surface, and runs through the back-away maneuver, with the last image in the sequence taken at approximately 43 feet (13 meters) in altitude – about 35 seconds after backing away. The sequence was created using 82 SamCam images, with 1.25 seconds between frames. For context, the images are oriented with Bennu’s west at the top.

OSIRIS-REx Aftermath of Sample Collection at Asteroid Bennu: SamCam View
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LA6X3Yz-Vkc

Captured on Oct. 20 during the OSIRIS-REx mission’s Touch-And-Go (TAG) sample collection event, this series of 16 images shows the SamCam imager’s field of view as the NASA spacecraft backs away from asteroid Bennu’s surface after touching down. The sampling event brought the spacecraft all the way down to sample site Nightingale, and the team on Earth received confirmation of successful touchdown at 6:08 p.m. EDT. Preliminary data show the sampling head touched Bennu’s surface for approximately 6 seconds, after which the spacecraft performed a back-away burn.

Credits: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

View as animated GIF
https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/file ... ermath.gif

Download full-resolution versions of related multimedia at NASA Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio
https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/13744

By Brittany Enos
University of Arizona

Media contacts:

Nancy Neal Jones
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
nancy.n.jones@nasa.gov

Erin Morton
University of Arizona, Tuscon
morton@orex.lpl.arizona.edu

Last Updated: Oct. 22, 2020
Editor: Rob Garner
Tags: Asteroids, Bennu, OSIRIS-REx (Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer), Solar System
I am amazed by the technological success so far, tears come to my eyes when I see the videos.

allynh
Posts: 965
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2008 12:51 am

Re: OSIRIS REx Asteroid sample and return mission

Unread post by allynh » Mon Oct 26, 2020 9:18 pm

Yikes!

Osiris-Rex: Nasa probe risks losing asteroid sample after door jams
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-54672691
2 days ago
The asteroid Bennu
Reuters
Bennu - the asteroid could hold clues as to how the Solar System was formed

A Nasa probe sent to collect rock from an asteroid several hundred million kilometres from Earth has grabbed so much that samples are spilling out.

Officials behind the Osiris-Rex probe, which landed on Bennu earlier this week, say the collection operation may have performed too well.

Pictures beamed back to Earth show a rock has wedged open the door of a container and a fraction of the sample is leaking, Nasa says.

Nasa is now trying to stow it safely.

"A substantial fraction of the required collected mass is seen escaping," head of mission Dante Lauretta said.

The craft is believed to have collected some 400g (14oz) of fragments, he said.

The probe could not have done better, he added. "My big concern now is that the particles are escaping because we were almost a victim of our own success here."

"Time is of the essence," Thomas Zurbuchen, Nasa's associate administrator for science, told reporters as the space agency focuses on making sure no more is lost.

Sampling an asteroid: This image sequence is speeded up and repeated
The collection container will now be stowed within the spacecraft, which means it will not be possible to measure exactly how much sample has been taken.

"Although we may have to move more quickly to stow the sample, it's not a bad problem to have," Mr Zurbuchen said. "We are so excited to see what appears to be an abundant sample that will inspire science for decades beyond this historic moment."

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Osiris-Rex touched down on Tuesday on 500m-wide Bennu, some 320 million kilometres (200 million miles) from Earth.

It kicked up debris and dust when it took the samples from the asteroid's surface. "We really did kind of make a mess," Mr Dante said on Tuesday.

Scientists hope the mission will throw light on how the Solar System began 4.5 billion years ago, once the samples are examined when the spacecraft returns home in 2023. Asteroids contain debris from the formation of the Solar System.

The spacecraft launched in 2016 and begins its journey back to Earth next March.

allynh
Posts: 965
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2008 12:51 am

Re: OSIRIS REx Asteroid sample and return mission

Unread post by allynh » Fri Oct 30, 2020 7:46 pm

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Successfully Stows Sample of Asteroid Bennu
https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa ... roid-bennu
side-by-side images of a cylinder approaching and attaching to a spacecraft

The left image shows the OSIRIS-REx collector head hovering over the Sample Return Capsule (SRC) after the Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism arm moved it into the proper position for capture. The right image shows the collector head secured onto the capture ring in the SRC. Both images were captured by the StowCam camera.

Credits: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona/Lockheed Martin

NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission has successfully stowed the spacecraft’s Sample Return Capsule (SRC) and its abundant sample of asteroid Bennu. On Wednesday, Oct. 28, the mission team sent commands to the spacecraft, instructing it to close the capsule – marking the end of one of the most challenging phases of the mission.

“This achievement by OSIRIS-REx on behalf of NASA and the world has lifted our vision to the higher things we can achieve together, as teams and nations,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “Together a team comprising industry, academia and international partners, and a talented and diverse team of NASA employees with all types of expertise, has put us on course to vastly increase our collection on Earth of samples from space. Samples like this are going to transform what we know about our universe and ourselves, which is at the base of all NASA’s endeavors.”

The mission team spent two days working around the clock to carry out the stowage procedure, with preparations for the stowage event beginning Oct. 24. The process to stow the sample is unique compared to other spacecraft operations and required the team’s continuous oversight and input over the two-day period. For the spacecraft to proceed with each step in the stowage sequence, the team had to assess images and telemetry from the previous step to confirm the operation was successful and the spacecraft was ready to continue. Given that OSIRIS-REx is currently more than 205 million miles (330 million km) from Earth, this required the team to also work with a greater than 18.5-minute time delay for signals traveling in each direction.

Throughout the process, the OSIRIS-REx team continually assessed the Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism’s (TAGSAM) wrist alignment to ensure the collector head was being placed properly into the SRC. Additionally, the team inspected images to observe any material escaping from the collector head to confirm that no particles would hinder the stowage process. StowCam images of the stowage sequence show that a few particles escaped during the stowage procedure, but the team is confident that a plentiful amount of material remains inside of the head.

“Given the complexity of the process to place the sample collector head onto the capture ring, we expected that it would take a few attempts to get it in the perfect position,” said Rich Burns, OSIRIS-REx project manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “Fortunately, the head was captured on the first try, which allowed us to expeditiously execute the stow procedure.”

By the evening of Oct. 27, the spacecraft’s TAGSAM arm had placed the collector head into the SRC. The following morning, the OSIRIS-REx team verified that the collector head was thoroughly fastened into the capsule by performing a “backout check.” This sequence commanded the TAGSAM arm to attempt to back out of the capsule – which tugged on the collector head and ensured the latches are well secured.

“I want to thank the OSIRIS-REx team from the University of Arizona, NASA Goddard, Lockheed Martin, and their partners, and also especially the SCaN and Deep Space Network people at NASA and JPL, who worked tirelessly to get us the bandwidth we needed to achieve this milestone, early and while still hundreds of millions of miles away,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for science at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “What we have done is a real first for NASA, and we will benefit for decades by what we have been able to achieve at Bennu.”

On the afternoon of Oct. 28, following the backout check, the mission team sent commands to disconnect the two mechanical parts on the TAGSAM arm that connect the sampler head to the arm. The spacecraft first cut the tube that carried the nitrogen gas that stirred up the sample through the TAGSAM head during sample collection, and then separated the collector head from the TAGSAM arm itself.

That evening, the spacecraft completed the final step of the sample stowage process –closing the SRC. To secure the capsule, the spacecraft closed the lid and then fastened two internal latches. As of late Oct. 28, the sample of Bennu is safely stored and ready for its journey to Earth.

“I’m very thankful that our team worked so hard to get this sample stowed as quickly as they did,” said Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator at the University of Arizona, Tucson. “Now we can look forward to receiving the sample here on Earth and opening up that capsule.”

The stowage process, originally scheduled to begin in early November, was expedited after sample collection when the mission team received images that showed the spacecraft’s collector head overflowing with material. The images indicated that the spacecraft collected well over 2 ounces (60 grams) of Bennu’s surface material, and that some of these particles appeared to be slowly escaping from the head. A mylar flap designed to keep the sample inside the head appeared to be wedged open by some larger rocks. Now that the head is secure inside the SRC, pieces of the sample will no longer be lost.

The OSIRIS-REx team will now focus on preparing the spacecraft for the next phase of the mission – Earth Return Cruise. The departure window opens in March 2021 for OSIRIS-REx to begin its voyage home, and the spacecraft is targeting delivery of the SRC to Earth on Sep. 24, 2023.

Goddard provides overall mission management, systems engineering, and the safety and mission assurance for OSIRIS-REx. Dante Lauretta of the University of Arizona, Tucson, is the principal investigator, and the University of Arizona also leads the science team and the mission’s science observation planning and data processing. Lockheed Martin Space in Littleton, Colorado, built the spacecraft and provides flight operations. Goddard and KinetX Aerospace are responsible for navigating the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. OSIRIS-REx is the third mission in NASA’s New Frontiers Program, which is managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

For more information on OSIRIS-REx, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/osiris-rex

and

https://www.asteroidmission.org

-end-

Last Updated: Oct. 29, 2020

Editor: Sean Potter

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