NASA, meanwhile, plans to launch three more asteroid missions in the next two years, all one-way trips. The unmanned OSIRIS-REx is currently closely orbiting Asteroid Bennu 200 million miles distant from Earth. The coronavirus pandemic had resulted in a two-month delay. Asteroid news: Space rock travelling at 40,000KM per hour to fly past Earth THIS WEEKEND AN ASTEROID is currently making its way through the solar system, with NASA confirming it … The most amazing of which is the highly-unusual distance with which 2020 TG6 will safely barrel past Earth today At its closest, the oddly-named asteroid will be a mere 0.00092 Astronomical Units (AU) – only 85,519 miles from our world. "The spacecraft did everything it was supposed to do.". OSIRIS-REx will make a second pass in January if this first one comes up empty. It won't be a show-stopping life-ender. But this is absolutely the major event of the mission right now," NASA scientist Lucy Lim said. Osiris-Rex took four and a half hours to make its way down from its tight orbit around Bennu, following commands sent well in advance by ground controllers near Denver. Read more: NASA says the asteroid might contain a wide variety of scientific gems, from platinum and gold to hints about the origins of life on Earth. Car-sized asteroid passed Earth by a cosmic hair — and NASA missed it. WATCH | A 3D animation of the asteroid Bennu: "We're going to be looking at a whole series of images as we descended down to the surface, made contact, fired that gas bottle, and I really want to know how that surface responded," Lauretta said. Everyone alive today will be long dead by that point — but perhaps the film Armageddon will stand the test of time for that day when Bennu tries to tag us back. Express. Japan expects samples from its second asteroid mission — in the milligrams at most — to land in the Australian desert in December. But the more scientists know about the paths and properties of potentially hazardous space rocks like this one, the safer we'll all be. September 8, 2020, 17:47 IST explore: Buzz NASA Asteroid Watch Twitter handle confirmed that the asteroid 1998 OR2 will safely pass Earth by 6.2 million kilometers. See today's front and back pages, download the newspaper, The spacecraft was programmed to shoot out pressurized nitrogen gas to stir up the surface, then suck up any loose pebbles or dust, before backing away. "Sampling is in progress.". newspaper archive. "We haven't done this before, so this is new territory for us.". “The successful contact, the (Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism) gas firing, and back-away from Bennu are major accomplishments for the team. U.S. spacecraft touches asteroid to grab sample, The Canadian Space Agency's OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter was crucial in mapping the asteroid Bennu ahead of its "touch-and-go" mission to collect samples that will be returned to Earth in 2023. Credit: Mike Daly, et. Bennu's gravity was too low for the spacecraft to land — the asteroid is just 510 metres across. As a result, it had to reach out with its 3.4-metre robot arm and attempt to grab at least 60 grams of Bennu. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft launched in 2016 and travelled over 300 million kilometres to reach Bennu. Pictures taken during the operation will give team members a general idea of the amount of loot; they will put the spacecraft through a series of spins Saturday for a more accurate measure. NASA completed a long and complicated game of “tag” on Tuesday, when its OSIRIS-REx spacecraft successfully touched a near-Earth asteroid to collect a sample for the first time in the space agency’s history. It is a priority for CBC to create a website that is accessible to all Canadians including people with visual, hearing, motor and cognitive challenges. I look forward to analyzing the data to determine the mass of sample collected.”. This is due to its particularly small size, with asteroid experts at NASA estimating it to be 31ft (9.5m) in diameter. To put this into context, the average distance between Earth and the Moon is 238,855 miles (384,400km). A NASA spacecraft descended to an asteroid Tuesday and, dodging boulders the size of buildings, momentarily touched the surface to collect a handful of cosmic rubble for return to Earth. “A piece of primordial rock that has witnessed our solar system’s entire history may now be ready to come home for generations of scientific discovery,” he said in a statement on Tuesday. It was a first for the United States — only Japan has scored asteroid samples. And although this may still seem very far away to some, this really is an extraordinarily close approach when considering the vastness of the ever-expanding Universe. The NASA mission appears to be a victim of its own success after the spacecraft trapped more asteroid rubble than it could carry. “TOUCHDOWN!” NASA tweeted on Tuesday, along with a simulation video of the sampling arm at work. Asteroid: NASA has revealed rogue space rock 2020 TG6 will safely pass by Earth at a close distance, Asteroid news: These four asteroids may one day hit Earth, NASA tracking HUGE 500-metre asteroid to pass Earth next month, Asteroid news: NASA estimates Ceres to be a mammoth 583 miles (940km) in diameter, NASA news: Hubble Space Telescope observes incredible supernova, NASA news: Space agency researchers turn to TREES in alien search, Black hole news: ESO spies galaxies trapped in cosmic ‘spiders web’, Asteroid news: 2020 TG6 will be a mere 0.00092 Astronomical Units (AU) – only 85,519 miles from our world, NASA discovery: Moon may have once protected Earth from solar rays, Space CATASTROPHE: Russian and Chinese space junk at ‘very high risk', Asteroid Bennu NASA video: Watch OSIRIS-REx get up close to Bennu, Asteroid news: NASA identifies ‘potentially hazardous' space rock, NASA news: Bright spots discovered on dwarf planet Ceres, NASA news: Former chief says it's time to go NUCLEAR for propulsion, NASA and co finally discover how Pluto's mountains are snow-capped, NASA news: Hubble spots 'ghost' deep in the cosmos. If successful, Osiris-Rex will return the samples in 2023. The space vehicle then stuck out a robotic arm and scooped up a sample from the ancient asteroid’s surface before pushing off again. Asteroid Bennu is of particular fascination to space scientists because it contains material from the early solar system, in addition to molecular precursors to life. A van-sized spacecraft with an Egyptian-inspired name, Osiris-Rex aimed for a spot equivalent to a few parking spaces on Earth in the middle of the asteroid's Nightingale Crater. After determining that the coast was clear, Osiris-Rex closed in the final few metres for the sampling. It could take about a week to confirm that a sample is onboard, NASA says. U.S. election: How does the Electoral College work? Another benefit: The solar-orbiting Bennu, which swings by Earth every six years, has a slight chance of smacking Earth late in the next century. By the time flight controllers heard back from Osiris-Rex, the action already happened 18.5 minutes earlier, the time it takes radio signals to travel each way between Bennu and Earth.

In fact, the smallest asteroid ever studied by NASA was a mere 6ft-wide (2m) space rock. This is because such events are known to create explosions called fireballs or bolides, where an extraordinary streak would be seen flashing through the night sky. New ‘black neutron star’ stuns astronomers with its spectacular death. The news of today’s near-Earth approach neatly coincides with news NASA’s ambitious OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample will occur early next week. Audience Relations, CBC P.O. "That will be another big day for us. Confirmation came from the Osiris-Rex spacecraft as it made contact with the surface of the asteroid Bennu more than 320 million kilometres away. After nearly two years orbiting the boulder-packed Bennu, the spacecraft found this location to have the biggest patch of particles small enough to be swallowed up. “The fact that we safely and successfully touched the surface of Bennu, in addition to all the other milestones this mission has already achieved, is a testament to the living spirit of exploration that continues to uncover the secrets of the solar system.”. NASA spacecraft grabs rock from speeding Bennu asteroid in historic first. Such proportions mean 2020 TG6 would incinerate in the our thick atmosphere – or simply bounce off, depending on the space rock’s exact trajectory. “We can’t wait to see what comes next.”, Read more: "Touchdown declared," a flight controller announced to cheers and applause. Good News, Finally: Asteroids Zipping Past Earth Pose No Threat For Next 100 Years. While … But with the ever-improving technology at the legendary space agency’s fingertips, NASA is now able to make-out surprisingly tiny asteroid even smaller than a car.

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