NASA spacecraft collects up to 4.5 pounds of asteroid to be sent to Earth

Global News

Breaking news &current latest Canadian news headlines;national weather forecasts &predictions, local news videos, money and financial news;sports stats and scores.

This mosaic image of asteroid Bennu is composed of 12 PolyCam images collected on Dec. 2, 2018 by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft.

This mosaic image of asteroid Bennu is composed of 12 PolyCam images collected on Dec. 2, 2018 by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft.

NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

A NASA spacecraft tucked more than two pounds of asteroid samples into a capsule for return to Earth after losing some of its precious loot because of a jammed lid, scientists said Thursday.

They won’t know the precise amount of the cosmic haul from asteroid Bennu, more than 200 million miles(322 million kilometres)away, until the capsule parachutes into the Utah desert in 2023.

“We’ve still got a lot of work to do” to get the samples back safely, said lead scientist Dante Lauretta of the University of Arizona.

The spacecraft Osiris-Rex won’t depart Bennu’s neighbourhood until March at the earliest, when the asteroid and Earth are properly aligned.

Osiris-Rex collected so much material from Bennu’s rough surface on Oct. 20 that rocks got wedged in the rim of the container and jammed it open. Some of the samples were seen escaping into space, so flight controllers moved up the crucial stowing operation.

Based on images, scientists believe Osiris-Rex grabbed 4 1/2 pounds(2 kilograms)of rubble, a full load. The minimum requirement had been 2 ounces(60 grams)— a handful or two.

Trending Stories

“Just imagine a sack of flour at the grocery store,” Lauretta said of the initial haul.

But tens of grams of material were lost following the successful touch-and-go maneuver and again this week when the spacecraft’s robot arm moved to put the samples inside the capsule.

“Even though my heart breaks for the loss of sample, it turned out to be a pretty cool science experiment and we’re learning a lot,” Lauretta told reporters.

While collecting the samples, the container on the end of the robot arm pressed down nine to 19 inches(24 to 48 centimetres)during the six seconds of contact, indicating a sandy and flaky interior beneath the rough surface, Lauretta said.

The slow, tedious stowing operation took 36 hours. After each successful step, flight controllers cheered, saving the biggest and loudest response when the lid on the capsule finally was closed and latched, sealing the samples inside.

It will be September 2023 — seven years after Osiris-Rex rocketed from Cape Canaveral — before the samples arrive here.

Rich in carbon, the solar-orbiting Bennu is believed to hold the preserved building blocks of the solar system. Scientists said the remnants can help explain how our solar system’s planets formed billions of years ago and how life on Earth came to be. The samples also can help improve our odds, they said, if a doomsday rock heads our way.

Bennu — a black, roundish rock bigger than New York’s Empire State Building — could come dangerously close to Earth late in the next decade. The odds of a strike are 1-in-2,700. The good news is that while packing a punch, it won’t wipe out the home planet.

Japan, meanwhile, has retrieved samples from other asteroids twice in the past two decades, although just tiny amounts. The second batch is due to arrive in December.

© 2020 The Canadian Press

Главком AstraZeneca планує ще одні випробування вакцини від коронавірусу. Главком Компанія хоче уточнити ефективність препарату
УНІАН Повня 30 листопада: у чому її особливість та як вона вплине на знаки Зодіаку. УНІАН Природній супутник Землі у цей період буде повністю освітлений і насичений енергією.
Обозреватель Трамп погодився залишити Білий дім за однієї умови Обозреватель Він перший раз відповів на питання журналістів з дня виборів
УНІАН Поставив «лайк» : співробітник моргу позував біля відкритої труни Марадони і був звільнений. УНІАН Власник похоронного бюро Pinier вже приніс вибачення родині Марадони, заявивши, що співробітник звільнений.
Главком Міністр фінансів України: в бюджеті бракує $3 млрд до кінця року. Главком Профільний міністр наголосив, що «ситуація непроста»
Новини по темі

U.K. to create big tech watchdog to counter market dominance

The U.K. government said Friday that it's setting up a ``Digital Markets Unit'' next year to enforce a new code of conduct governing the behaviour of tech giants that dominate the online advertising market.

At least 5 dead after fire breaks out at Indian hospital treating COVID-19 patients.

Police officer K.N. Bhukan said fire engines restricted the blaze to one floor of the hospital and extinguished it within 30 minutes.

U.K. to assess AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine as questions swirl over data

U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he had asked the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency to determine whether the vaccine ``meets rigorous safety standards.''

Australia's COVID-19 Hotspot Goes 28 Days Without An Infection.

Australia's second-largest state, Victoria, once the country's COVID-19 hotspot, said on Friday it has gone 28 days without detecting any new infections, a benchmark widely cited as eliminating the...

Australia COVID-19 hotspot goes 28 days infection-free after long lockdown.

The spread of the virus was only contained after a lockdown lasting more than 100 days.

UK Asks Regulator To Study AstraZeneca Vaccine

The British government said on Friday it has asked its independent medicines regulator to assess AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine as part of the formal approval process for the drug to be rolled out...

1 4

Trump Says He Will Leave White House If Biden Victory Confirmed.

President Donald Trump said Thursday that he would leave the White House if Joe Biden is officially confirmed the winner of the US election, but he repeated that he may not concede defeat.

1 5

Trump says he’ll concede if Electoral College votes for Biden.

The electors are scheduled to meet on Dec. 14.

1 1687

Russia's Sputnik V Developers Asks AstraZeneca To Try Combining Vaccines.

The Russian Gamaleya research institute has suggested UK pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca try to boost the efficacy of its COVID-19 vaccine, combining it with a shot of Russian COVID-19 vaccine...

‘Diego is the people’: Thousands honour Maradona in Argentina after death.

A casket procession was the sort of honour usually given heads of state, but few heads of state have ever aroused such loyalty or passion.