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After getting delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, NASA has lastly picked out a date to analysis samples of the asteroid Bennu.

The house company stated that it now expects the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to start its first try at sampling the asteroid on Oct. 20. The preliminary date was Aug. 25, however that was pushed again due to the pandemic. The second rehearsal, which was initially scheduled for June, will now happen on Aug. 11.

“The OSIRIS-REx mission has been demonstrating the very essence of exploration by persevering via surprising challenges,” Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s affiliate administrator for science, stated in an announcement earlier this week. “That spirit has led them to the cusp of the prize all of us are ready for — securing a pattern of an asteroid to deliver residence to Earth, and I am very excited to observe them via the house stretch.”

It is a mosaic picture of asteroid Bennu, from NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft.
(Credit: NASA/Goddard/College of Arizona)


Since arriving on the asteroid in December 2018, OSIRIS-REx (which stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Useful resource Identification and Safety Regolith Explorer) has been observing the house rock and in search of spots to land.

It has snapped some unbelievable photos of the asteroid and made observations about it which have shocked researchers, together with the actual fact it was capturing out rocks.

“This mission’s unbelievable efficiency to date is a testomony to the extraordinary ability and dedication of the OSIRIS-REx crew,” stated Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator on the College of Arizona, Tucson. “I’m assured that even within the face of the present problem, this crew might be profitable in amassing our pattern from Bennu.”

This illustration shows NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft descending towards asteroid Bennu to collect a sample of the asteroid’s surface. Credits: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

This illustration reveals NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft descending in direction of asteroid Bennu to gather a pattern of the asteroid’s floor. Credit: NASA/Goddard/College of Arizona

In December 2019, previous to the pandemic, NASA picked the spot the place it could land on the asteroid.

OSIRIS-REx is predicted to start a two-year journey again to Earth in the course of 2021 and return with samples in September 2023.


Fox Information’ James Rogers contributed to this story.