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NASA OSIRIS-REx: Items blocking access to samples from asteroid Bennu have been removed

NASA OSIRIS-REx: Items blocking access to samples from asteroid Bennu have been removed

We recently wrote about the OSIRIS-APEX space probe approaching the Sun, as it heads toward the asteroid Apophis, which it is expected to encounter in 2029. The mission has since changed its name Samples DaleAsteroid Bennu They were properly brought to Earth by Osiris Rex. Much is expected from this analysis The rich Which could reveal interesting news about the primitive solar system.

After collecting the external parts (and already finding a similar weight About 70 gramsDeclaring the success of the mission), technicians and engineers focused on opening the sampling head known as… Touch and go s TAGSAM. Due to the asteroid impact during sampling, the fasteners may have malfunctioned, delaying access Approximately 200 grams of materials. The priority is not to contaminate the samples and it was therefore necessary to proceed with due caution and develop appropriate tools that can be used within the case in which the sampling head is located.

NASA OSIRIS-REx: Progress is being made toward the opening of TAGSAM

As mentioned In the last few hours During the holiday period and the weeks leading up to it it was possible to develop new suitable tools Remove two screws Which has been blocked. Now you can proceed to unlock TAGSAM And get dust and fragments coming fromAsteroid Bennu. It will then be possible to perform the analyzes in different laboratories around the world and keep part of them for future analyzes (when the instruments are more advanced) at -80°C.

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To open Two screws stayed Forbidden Two new tools have been developed that also include newly developed custom-fabricated parts made of non-magnetic stainless steel. It is the hardest metal suitable for use in this situation and with these gloves.

After initial development, the new tools were tested with new removal procedures in the test laboratory. Different torque values ​​and different combinations were tested so as not to damage the TAGSAM and not to contaminate the samples.

Osiris Rex

Eileen Stansbury (Head of the Astronomical Materials Department at the Authority) said. “Our engineers and scientists worked tirelessly behind the scenes for months to not only study the more than 70 grams of material we had previously access to, but also to design, develop, and test new tools that allowed us to overcome this hurdle.”.

New information and high-resolution images of TAGSAM SAMPLES. Next, this portion of the sample will be removed and weighed, thus we will have the total weight of the samples collected He specifies. It is currently estimated that it could be around 250 grams, but it was an indirect and imprecise measurement.