Osiris Rex is looking back
Remember the “Pale Blue Dot” of Carl Sagan; now this time it is a “Bright White Dot” sent by the Underworld Lord of the Dead. Named after Ancient mythological Egyptian god Osiris, NASA’s amazing spacecraft Osiris Rex snapped and sent back a must see photo of our Home Planet and its tiny Moon.
Osiris is going after a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA) called ‘Bennu’ (Named after another ancient Egyptian god linked with the Sun, Creation, and Rebirth) launched on 8th September 2016, Osiris is on its “Asteroid study and sample return mission”. It will catch up with Bennu in dark & cold space, take samples of its dust and will send it back to Earth in a capsule, which will fall in Utah dessert! And amazingly our scientists have set exact date for it; September 24, 2023. So if you want to watch it falling from sky with its parachute; note the date in your diary and present that day on Utah Dessert.
The Bright White Dot
Osiris Rex was flying at a zooming speed of 8.5 kilometer per second (19000 miles per hour) while it took the photo of Earth & Moon using its NavCam1.
You can see Earth as largest spot in the center of this photo with Moon as dimmer white dot to the right. Several stars are also visible in the photo. Small Bright cluster of stars Pleiades is in the upper left corner. The brightest star of the Aries constellation ‘Hamal’ is located in the upper right corner.
Earlier Osiris Rex has sent incredible photos of Earth, Moon, Jupiter and it’s moons during it’s journey to Bennu.
On October 2 2017, Osiris sent this Image of Earth & Moon from an angle unseen before from a approximate distance of 3180000 Miles from Earth using it’s MapCam.
See Moon by the eyes of Osiris Rex
On Sept. 25, 2017, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft obtained the data used to produce this image of the Moon with its high-resolution PolyCam imager. Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona
A color composite image of Earth taken on Sept. 22 by the MapCam camera on NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona,
Osiris has also taken snapshots of Jupiter and it’s moon
Key mission dates of Osiris rex
These are the key dates of Osiris…
Launch: Sept. 8, 2016
Earth Flyby: September 2017
Asteroid Operations: August 2018
Touch-And-Go Sample Collection: July 2020
Asteroid Departure Maneuver: March 2021
Sample Return to Earth: Sept. 24, 2023
Why not destroying ‘Bennu’ if it is Potentially Hazardous?
As I told earlier, Asteroid Bennu is Potential hazardous, it means there is a minor chance that it can hit the earth..Now we are landing a rover on Bennu; just for collecting the dust of it!!! If we already there; why we are not dropping a small nuclear bomb and break it in smaller chunks, if it could collide with earth in near future!!!.
Or we can deploy small rocket that push the Bennu far from earth’s orbit by using it’s thrusters!!! May be in the next mission they will plan about these matters.
Source : NASA