The Osiris-Rex spacecraft, which was heading for the near-Earth asteroid Pino, has successfully cleared part of the area surrounding the Trojan asteroids, NASA said on Friday. Although no such asteroids were detected, the survey showed that the main instrument on board the spacecraft worked much better than expected.
“The search for asteroids from the Trojan Earth was a great success for the Osiris-Rex mission,” said Tucson, principal investigator at Osiris-Rex at the University of Arizona, Tucson. “In this process the first operation of the mission’s scientific operations, the mission team learned a lot about the capabilities of this spacecraft and the flight operations that we are now before the game when we get to Pino.”
Scientists believe that terrestrial asteroids are located in Earth’s Lagerangian L4 and L5 Earth points, which are stable points of 60 degrees in the front and 60 degrees behind the Earth’s orbit. However, until now, only one of this asteroid has been discovered.The Osiris-Rex research was limited to L4 – the region that flew to Pino and was examined using the Mapcam image.
“The Trojan Earth Survey was mainly designed as a practice for the mission team to review the risk study of the spacecraft as it approaches its target asteroid Pino,” NASA quoted the statement as saying. “This research will allow the mission team to avoid any natural satellites that may exist around the asteroid as the spacecraft prepares to collect a sample to return to Earth in 2023 for scientific study,” he said.
For astronomers, the study of asteroids is one of the few ways in which we can hope to draw how solar systems and planets evolve. Unlike the rocks on earth, which over its 4.5 billion year history, have become polluted, the supernova material, gives us a glimpse of what the solar system was like in its infancy.
The 4,600-acre Osiris-Rex spacecraft, launched in September, will reach Pino in 2018. After careful study of the asteroid’s surface in the visible and infrared spectrum, a robotic arm will collect between 2 and 70 ounces of sample material , The ground via a detachable capsule in 2023.
Pino, an asteroid with a diameter of more than 1640 feet, was chosen because of its accessibility, size and composition. Scientists expect Pino to keep vital evidence of the origin of water and organic molecules that may have made their way to Earth, ultimately creating conditions for life.NASA estimates that the asteroid, which comes very close to Earth every six years, has a “high probability” affecting the planet sometime in the late 22nd century.