NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Surpasses Asteroid Sample Collection Goal

OSIRIS-REx Sample Collector

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A view of the beyond the OSIRIS-REx sample collector. Sample product from asteroid Bennu can be seen on the middle right. Scientists have actually discovered proof of both carbon and water in preliminary analysis of this product. The bulk of the sample lies within. Credit: NASA/Erika Blumenfeld & & Joseph Aebersold

< period class ="glossaryLink" aria-describedby ="tt" data-cmtooltip ="<div class=glossaryItemTitle>NASA</div><div class=glossaryItemBody>Established in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government that succeeded the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). It is responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. Its vision is &quot;To discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity.&quot; Its core values are &quot;safety, integrity, teamwork, excellence, and inclusion.&quot; NASA conducts research, develops technology and launches missions to explore and study Earth, the solar system, and the universe beyond. It also works to advance the state of knowledge in a wide range of scientific fields, including Earth and space science, planetary science, astrophysics, and heliophysics, and it collaborates with private companies and international partners to achieve its goals.</div>" data-gt-translate-attributes="[{"attribute":"data-cmtooltip", "format":"html"}]" > NASA effectively gathered70 grams from asteroidBennu, exceeding their60- gram objective.Despite challenges with extraction, more product waits for collection as the group makes sure the sample’s pureness. (************ )(**************** )The curation group processing NASA’s asteroid Bennu sample has actually eliminated and gathered 2.48 ounces (703 grams) of rocks and dust from the sampler hardware– going beyond the firm’s objective of bringing a minimum of60 grams toEarth

And fortunately is, there’s still more of NASA’s < period class ="glossaryLink" aria-describedby ="tt" data-cmtooltip ="<div class=glossaryItemTitle>OSIRIS-REx</div><div class=glossaryItemBody>Launched in 2016, the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft will help astronomers investigate how planets formed and how life began, as well as improve our understanding of near-Earth asteroids.</div>" data-gt-translate-attributes="[{"attribute":"data-cmtooltip", "format":"html"}]" > OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security–Regolith Explorer) sample to gather.

The sample processed up until now consists of the rocks and dust discovered on the exterior of the sampler head, along with a part of the bulk sample from inside the head, which was accessed through the head’s mylar flap. Additional product staying inside the sampler head, called the Touch- and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism, or TAGSAM, is set for elimination later on, contributing to the mass overall.


OSIRIS-REx curation employee at NASA’s Johnson Space Center start the procedure of getting rid of and turning the TAGSAM (Touch- and-Go Sample Mechanism) from the avionics deck of the science container. Credit: NASA/James Blair

Challenges in Sample Extraction

In the recently, the group at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston altered its technique to opening the TAGSAM head, which included the bulk of the rocks and dust gathered by the spacecraft in2020 After numerous efforts at elimination, the group found 2 of the 35 fasteners on the TAGSAM head might not be eliminated with the present tools authorized for usage in the OSIRIS-REx glovebox. The group has actually been working to establish and carry out brand-new methods to draw out the product inside the head, while continuing to keep the sample safe and beautiful.

As a primary step, the group effectively accessed a few of the product by holding down the head’s mylar flap and getting rid of the sample inside with tweezers or a scoop, depending upon product size. The collection and containment of product through this technique, integrated with the earlier collection of product situated outside the head, yielded an overall mass going beyond the 60 grams needed.

Taken on October 27, 2020, this imaging series reveals NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft effectively positioning its sample collector head into the Sample Return Capsule (SRC). The series starts with the collector head hovering over the SRC after the Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) arm and moving it into the appropriate position for capture. At completion of the series, the collector head is protected onto the capture ring in the SRC. A couple of particles can likewise be seen leaving from the pill. The image series was recorded by the StowCam electronic camera. StowCam, a color imager, is among 3 cams making up TAGCAMS (the Touch- and-Go Camera System), which belongs to OSIRIS-REx’s assistance, navigation, and control system. Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona/Lockheed Martin

Future Steps and Preservation

The group will invest the next couple of weeks establishing and practicing a brand-new treatment to get rid of the staying asteroid sample from the TAGSAM sampler head while concurrently processing the product that was gathered today. The OSIRIS-REx science group will likewise continue with its strategy to define the drawn out product and start analysis of the bulk sample gotten up until now.

All curation deal with the sample– and the TAGSAM head– is carried out in a specialized glovebox under a circulation of nitrogen to keep it from being exposed to Earth’s environment, protecting the sample’s beautiful state for subsequent clinical analysis. The tools for any proposed option to draw out the staying product from the head should have the ability to fit inside the glovebox and not jeopardize the clinical stability of the collection, and any treatments should follow the tidy space’s requirements.

While the treatment to access the last part of the product is being established, the group has actually eliminated the TAGSAM head from the active circulation of nitrogen in the glovebox and kept it in its transfer container, sealed with an O-ring and surrounded by a sealed Teflon bag to ensure the sample is protected in a steady, nitrogen-rich, environment.