NASA launches a process to store samples of the asteroid Nebo after a leak
Tuesday – 10 Rabi ‘al-Awal 1442 AH – October 27, 2020 CE
Probe «Oasis – Rex» during a mission to collect samples from the asteroid Nebo (AP)
Washington: “Middle East Online”
The Osiris-Rex probe is on a mission to collect dust and gravel, which scientists hope will help reveal the origins of our solar system, but it ran into an obstacle after it captured a very large group of samples.
Samples collected from the surface of the asteroid Bennu were stored in a chamber at the end of the three-meter-long arm of the probe, but they began to slowly fly into space, because some samples formed a barrier in front of the chamber door and did not close tightly.
It was this arm that touched Benno for a second last Tuesday, at the height of a mission launched from Earth nearly four years ago.
It is believed that the probe collected about 400 grams of samples, which is more than the desired minimum of 60 grams, according to what the US space agency previously explained.
Scientists need to store the sample in a capsule located in the center of the probe, and the date for this process has been brought up to Tuesday, after it was set on November 2 due to the leak.
The probe is scheduled to return to Earth in 2023 carrying samples of dust and gravel, and it will be the largest space sample ever since the Apollo missions to the moon.
“NASA” explained that the storage process will take several days because it requires team supervision and intervention.
After each step of the process, the probe will send information and images back to Earth so that scientists can make sure everything is going properly.
The probe is so far away that it takes 18.5 minutes for its transmissions to reach Earth, and it takes any signal from the control room the same time to reach “OSIERS-REX.”