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Touchdown! NASA makes historic touchdown on asteroid Bennu to collect rock samples

Daily Mail - Science & tech

NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has made a historic touchdown on the asteroid Bennu and collected samples from its surface for several seconds before backing away Tuesday evening. As of 5pm Tuesday EST the spacecraft was activating its sensors and instruments as it further descended into the orbit of the asteroid that contains material from the early solar system and could provide insight into the origin of life on Earth. As of 5.38pm EST the spacecraft steered to the proper orientation for final descent, with its 11-foot arm and cameras pointed towards the asteroid's surface, and by 5.47pm the craft's cameras were turned on. As of 5.53pm checkpoint burn was complete, meaning the spacecraft will descend more steeply towards Bennu's surface in time for matchpoint burn. By 6.02pm matchpoint burn was complete, the spacecraft's key final maneuver performed by firing its thrusters to match Bennu's spin and center exactly over the landing spot to safely touch down. By 6.10pm OSIRIS-Rex passed the 25 meter crossing meaning contact with the surface is just minutes away.


NASA spacecraft expertly lands on asteroid after 2-year orbit

Christian Science Monitor | Science

A NASA spacecraft descended to an asteroid Tuesday and, dodging boulders the size of buildings, momentarily touched the surface to collect a handful of cosmic rubble for return to Earth. It was a first for the United States – only Japan has scored asteroid samples. "Touchdown declared," a flight controller announced to cheers and applause. Confirmation came from the Osiris-Rex spacecraft as it made contact with the surface of the asteroid Bennu more than 200 million miles away. But it could be a week before scientists know how much, if much of anything, was grabbed and whether another try will be needed. If successful, Osiris-Rex will return the samples in 2023.


U.S. spacecraft touches asteroid surface for rare rubble grab

The Japan Times

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida – A NASA spacecraft descended to an asteroid Tuesday and, dodging boulders the size of buildings, momentarily touched the surface to collect a handful of cosmic rubble for return to Earth. It was a first for the United States -- only Japan has scored asteroid samples. "Touchdown declared," a flight controller announced to cheers and applause. Confirmation came from the Osiris-Rex spacecraft as it made contact with the surface of the asteroid Bennu more than 200 million miles away. But it could be a week before scientists know how much, if much of anything, was grabbed and whether another try will be needed.


NASA releases never-before-seen pictures of Bennu, an asteroid that may hold the building blocks of life

FOX News

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com. Following Tuesday's historic touchdown on the asteroid Bennu, NASA has released never-before-seen images of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft kicking up rocks and debris on the space rock's surface. The images are from the point in time when OSIRIS-REx approached and touched down on the surface of Bennu, which is more than 200 million miles from Earth. "The spacecraft's sampling arm – called the Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) – is visible in the lower part of the frame," NASA wrote on its website.


NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission will leave asteroid Bennu TODAY

Daily Mail - Science & tech

NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission will leave asteroid Bennu today and begin its 1.4 billion mile, two year long journey back to the Earth, the space agency confirmed. OSIRIS-REx (the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer) was the first NASA mission to visit a near-Earth asteroid, survey the surface, and collect a sample to deliver to Earth. The spaceship was sent to study Bennu, an asteroid around the size of the Empire State Building and 200 million miles away, between the orbit of Earth and Mars. OSIRIS-REx gathered 2.1 ounces (60 grams) of rock and dust during its land and grab mission to the surface of the giant space rock, filling its storage compartment. It will begin its long journey home at 21:00 BST (16:00 EDT), with a live broadcast from NASA sharing the moment it fires its thrusters to push away from Bennu's orbit. If all goes to plan, OSIRIS-REx will orbit the sun twice, travelling 1.4 billion miles as it lines up with Earth, returning its samples in Utah on September 24, 2023.