Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft arrives at asteroid

For God’s sake fund it’ Former NASA astronaut makes dire plea to protect us from killer asteroids NASA spacecraft to land on Bennu asteroid
Kristen Harrington | 03 December, 2018, 22:30

Accordingly, NASA wants to know exactly what Bennu - and asteroids like it - are composed of, should future engineers have to use lasers or still-unknown technology to deflect the ominous space rock away from our planet.

OSIRIS-REx will spend the next year in orbit around its target before dropping down briefly so it can get close enough to scoop up a sample of dirt and rock from the surface.

Coverage of the event will be streamed live starting 11:45 a.m. ET.

'We have arrived, ' technicians announced, spurring high-fives and clapping around the control room. "To Bennu and back!"

"Osiris-Rex" ultimate goal is to bring back a regolith sample of at least 2.1 ounces. The spacecraft will spend nearly a year surveying the asteroid with five scientific instruments with the goal of selecting a location that is safe and scientifically interesting to collect the sample of the asteroid. The sample container would break loose and head toward Earth in 2021.

NASA fears that the asteroid, which has the potential to wipe out a country on Earth, could hit our planet within the next 200 years, with the next close flyby in 2135, but this depends on the Yarkovsky effect. For one, it's close to Earth - as far as space goes, anyways.

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Even the word "multilateralism" itself has fallen out of favour in a group created to foster global cooperation. President Donald Trump has criticized the WTO and taken aggressive trade policies targeting China and the EU.

In July 2020, NASA intends to send OSIRIS-REx to the surface of Bennu and gather 4.4 pounds of rock, put the rocks in a sturdy capsule, and then blast back to Earth.

But its orbit drifts 0.18 miles each year toward the sun, and OSIRIS-REx will enable researchers to understand why and to predict Bennu's movements. Its orbit switches between those of Earth and Mars, making it what's officially called a "near-Earth asteroid".

Scientists say the ancient asteroid could hold clues to the origin of life.

Bennu is essentially a leftover from the formation of our solar system billions of years ago, although some of the minerals inside it could be even older.

The spacecraft launched on September 8, 2016 at 19:05 EST aboard an Atlas V rocket.

It is the first US attempt to gather asteroid samples for return to Earth, something only Japan has accomplished so far.

Alberta oil cuts may not mean spike at the pump in BC
Roughly speaking, Notley said, while the rest of the world sells its oil at about $50 per barrel, Alberta fetches only $10. The specific impact of the production cut will be provided when Suncor issues its 2019 capital and production guidance.

SEE ALSO: 3 small moon rocks are coming up for auction.

Japanese space agency JAXA first proved sample collection from an asteroid was possible.

The chances of Bennu striking earth are still a fraction of a per cent. Carbon is the hinge upon which organic molecules hang.

"Bennu is likely rich in organic molecules, which are made of chains of carbon bonded with atoms of oxygen, hydrogen, and other elements in a chemical recipe that makes all known living things". Specifically, Bennu holds clay deposits, and embedded in clay is water. OSIRIS-REx fired its thrusters for a small burn, putting it about 4.3 miles from Bennu, marking the end of its journey to the asteroid. "So that's over two-and-a-half years of operations at the asteroid".

"The story of this asteroid is the story of the solar system", said Bashar Rizk, instrument scientist for OSIRIS-REx.

World leaders race to deliver on climate deal at summit
At the COP24 climate talks, nations must agree to a rulebook palatable to all 183 states who have ratified the Paris deal. Brazil's strongman president-elect Jair Bolsonaro, for one, has promised to follow the American lead during his campaign.

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