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Rabu, 27 September 2017

Nasa's Osiris-Rex captures a stunning image of Earth


Last week, Nasa’s asteroid-chasing spacecraft, Osiris-Rex, swung past Earth on its way to a space rock.


The spacecraft, which is on a path towards the asteroid, Bennu, passed within about 11,000 miles (17,700 kilometers) of Earth. 


Now, Nasa has published a stunning image captured by Osiris-Rex during its travels, showing our planet in breathtaking detail. 


Scroll down for video 



Nasa has published a stunning image captured by Osiris-Rex during its travels, showing our planet in breathtaking detail. Visible in this image are the Pacific Ocean and several familiar landmasses, including Australia in the lower left, and Baja California and the southwestern United States in the upper right




OSIRIS-REX CAMERAS 



Three cameras on the spacecraft will point towards Bennu, giving Osiris-Rex a clear view from all distances.


PolyCam is a high-resolution camera that will acquire the first images of Bennu and perform an initial mapping of the asteroid.


MapCam is a medium-resolution camera that will map the asteroid in colour and search for satellites and dust plumes.


SamCam will document the sampling process.


The spacecraft will store the images captured by Ocams and send them to the Osiris-Rex team every few days. 




The colour composite image was taken on September 22 by the MapCam on Osiris-Rex.


The image was taken just hours after the spacecraft completed its Earth Gravity Assist – a manoeuvre to help propel it towards Bennu – at a range of approximately 106,000 miles (170,000 kilometres).


In a post on its website, a spokesperson for Nasa wrote: ‘Visible in this image are the Pacific Ocean and several familiar landmasses, including Australia in the lower left, and Baja California and the southwestern United States in the upper right.’ 


Osiris-Rex should reach the small, roundish asteroid next year and, in 2020, collect some of its gravel for return to Earth. 




Osiris-Rex should reach the small, roundish asteroid next year and, in 2020, collect some of its gravel for return to Earth 






Nasa’s Osiris-Rex spacecraft was visible from Earth (circled in red) before it propelled itself towards the asteroid


If all goes well, scientists should get the samples in 2023. 


The spacecraft is on its way to Bennu – an asteroid that is just 1,640 feet (500 meters) or so across and circles the sun in an orbit slightly wider than ours. 


Osiris-Rex will go into orbit around the asteroid and seek the best spot for grabbing a few handfuls of the bite-size bits of rock. 



HOW WILL THE MISSION WORK? 



Osiris-Rex is the first US mission designed to return a piece of an asteroid to Earth.


The spacecraft launched on September 8 at 19:05 EST aboard an Atlas V rocket.


After a careful survey of Bennu to characterise the asteroid and locate the most promising sample sites, Osiris-Rex will collect between 2 and 70 ounces (about 60 to 2,000 grams) of surface material with its robotic arm and return the sample to Earth via a detachable capsule in 2023.


To capture samples on the surface, the craft will hover over a specific area and ‘will be sent down at a very slow and gently’ 4 inches (10 cm) per second. 


The spacecraft will also carry a laser altimeter, a suite of cameras provided by the University of Arizona, spectrometers and lidar, which is similar to radar, using light instead of radio waves to measure distance. 




It will hover like a hummingbird as a mechanical arm briefly rests on the surface and sucks in samples stirred up by nitrogen gas thrusters.


Scientists say the ancient asteroid could hold clues to the origin of life. 


It’s believed to have formed 4.5 billion years ago, a remnant of the solar system’s building blocks.


This is the first US attempt to bring back samples from an asteroid. 


Japan has already visited an asteroid and returned some specs.




Three cameras on the spacecraft will point towards Bennu, giving Osiris-Rex a clear view from all distances 



Nasa's Osiris-Rex captures a stunning image of Earth Rating: 4.5 Diposkan Oleh: Fatih

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