Tuesday, 2 August 2016

NASA will launch spacecraft to bring samples from asteroid:

US space agency NASA will launch a spacecraft in September to a near-Earth asteroid known as Bennu to harvest a sample of surface material and return it to the Earth to scan for signs of life. NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will measure the spectral signatures of Bennu’s mineralogical and molecular components. Ideally, the sample will come from a region in which the building blocks of life may be found. OVIRS (OSIRIS-REx
Visible and Infrared Spectrometer), the instrument on board will measure visible and near-infrared light reflected and emitted from the asteroid and split the light into its component wavelengths, much like a prism that splits sunlight into a rainbow. OVIRS is key to our search for organics on Bennu, will work in tandem with another OSIRIS-REx instrument – the Thermal Emission Spectrometer (OTES).  OVIRS maps the asteroid in the visible and near infrared, OTES picks up in the thermal infrared.This will allow the science team to map the entire asteroid over a range of wavelengths that are most interesting to scientists searching for organics and water. Bennu, the near earth asteroid, have the possibility of the presence of organic molecules that are the building blocks of life on its surface, as it is a B-type asteroid. The spacecraft will reach the asteroid after 2 years from its take off from earth. The plan is to grab at least 60 grams of pristine surface material and return it to Earth for further analysis. OSIRIS-Rex will reach the earth in 2023 after departing the asteroid in 2021.

No comments:

Post a Comment