A NASA spacecraft recently collected rocks from asteroid It captured a lot more material than expected. The US space agency says a sample It was so large that it closed the container door to the complex.
Osiris-Rex spacecraft successfully completed asteroid Sample operation on October 20. Touch the robotic arm of asteroid explorer Benno for a few seconds to produce samples of dust and rock for collection. Bennu is located about 320 million kilometers from Earth.
Then the samples were trapped in a device called a collection head. NASA discovered the device’s dead end in images it received from the team controlling the spacecraft. The blockage caused some asteroid materials to escape into space.
For this reason, NASA scientists made the decision to move the timeline to complete the next step in the process. This includes storing or storing the collection head in a safe location capsule Inside the spacecraft.
“the time is From the coreThomas Zurbuchen told reporters about the change in plans. He is an associate director of science at NASA.
The sample storage process takes place in a series of steps. After each step, the spacecraft sends information and images back to Earth. Different members of the team monitor the process to make sure things progress properly.
The spacecraft is so far away that it takes about 18 minutes for its signals to reach Earth. Any ground controlling connection requires the same amount of time to reach Osiris-Rex. For this reason, the warehousing process was expected to take several days.
Scientists believe the process captured up to 400 grams of Asteroid matter. That’s well over the 60 grams that NASA said it hoped Osiris Rex would collect.
But mission leaders said they would not know exactly how much material was inside until the sample capsule returned to Earth. The team had planned to implement a sample measurement process. But that plan was canceled because NASA said it could cause more material to leak.
“I think we will have to wait until we come home to know specially Chief detective Osiris Rex Dante Loretta told reporters how many we have. “As you can imagine, this is difficult. … But the good news is that we see a lot of material.”
Team members also considered making another assembly attempt. But the leak case prompted NASA to decide against the plan. “Quite frankly, we couldn’t have had a better bundling experience,” said Loretta.
The Osiris-Rex is expected to begin its return to Earth in March 2021. The flight will take two and a half years, with the spacecraft’s planned arrival date set for September 2023.
The mission was NASA’s first asteroid gathering operation. Japan is the only other country that has it He was successfully caught Like this sample.
Asteroids are among the material left over from the formation of the Solar System about 4.5 billion years ago. NASA chose to collect a sample from Benno because it is believed that its carbon-rich material is tolerated saved The building blocks of our solar system.
Scientists say that the asteroid samples may help them better understand how planets formed and how life on Earth began.
I’m Brian Lynn.
Brian Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from The Associated Press, Reuters, AFP and NASA. Ashley Thompson was the editor.
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Words in this story
asteroid – n. Bodies made of rocks and metal revolve around the sun but are smaller than planets
a sample – n. A small amount of something gives you information about the thing it was taken from
capsule – N. The part of the spacecraft that carries people
From the core – phr. very important
specially – the case. exactly
Maintain – Fifth. Keeping something as it is or preventing it from being damaged or destroyed