Discoveries are never ending process to people who are hunger for knowledge. Complications will never stop them from discovering things where it will lead them to have more answers about the universe, from its simplest up to its deadliest secrets.
NASA, our partner when it comes to aerospace learning, is on its way again for a complicated mission. After series of missions that they successfully attained, they took another challenge that will surely feed their minds with questions. NASA sent OSIRIS-Rex, the name of the spacecraft, which goal is to reach the giant dark asteroid and to get a sample.
The blast-off happened last September 8 from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. OSIRIS-REx mission will go on visiting the asteroid Bennu and bring pieces of it back to Earth which will probably arrive in 2023, for experiments and for a treasure to keep by the scientist. When the mission will be as successful as their plan, they will name it as There and Back Again: A Spacecraft’s Tale.
OSIRIS-Rex is an acronym which represents the mission’s objectives: Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer and it also took its name from the Egyptian god of the underworld, Osiris.
Asteroid Bennu was named by Michael Puzio, a then-third grader from North Carolina. He suggested the name during an international essay contest that brought in more than 8,000 entries. Bennu is an Egyptian deity that’s represented as a heron. The said asteroid was dark, carbon-rich, and spins around itself once every 4.3 hours and at 500 meters across, and it is just a little taller than the Empire State Building.
Bennu had chosen to be the target of the mission because of its characteristic. One of the very reasons is that; it was characterized as a potentially hazardous asteroid or PHA, and possibly might cause a great danger to Earth on the next century or less. Bennu’s circular orbit around the sun takes about two years to complete and every six years it comes closer to our planet. As per the study, the next time it’s close to us will be in 2135, when it will be just a smidge closer to home than our own moon. The on-going study has been on the progress of how that little encounter will nudge Bennu’s orbit, but there’s a chance it could collide with Earth sometime between 2175 and 2199. Aside from its harm, Bennu also carries a record of the solar system’s earliest beginnings, and if scientists can just catch up with the dark, speeding sphere, they’ll be able to give that record a read.
It was not the first time to get samples of asteroids back on Earth. A Japanese spacecraft named Hayabusa did this in 2010 where an asteroid named as Itokawa was their target. However, their mission did not go according to their plan. Hayabusa only took tiny pieces of the said asteroid and the experiment was not been fully maximize due to its quantity.
The universe has a lot to keep beneath and discoveries will always be there to find out why such things existed. It is a never ending process which will be passed through generations to clearly define the origin of the life of every species.