NASA OSIRIS-REx Flexes Its “Arm” Before Arriving At Asteroid Bennu

TAGSAM, or Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism, completed a successful practice deployment in space on Nov. 14—an important milestone in the OSIRIS-REx mission to the asteroid Bennu. TAGSAM is the first-of-its-kind robotic arm and sampling head invented by Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin engineers on the Mission Support Area (MSA) team moved TAGSAM’s arm through the full …Read More

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First Images Of Asteroid Bennu Obtained By The NASA OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft

After two years traveling through space, the NASA OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has started to obtain images of the mission target, primitive asteroid Bennu. As part of the Scientific Team of this mission, researchers from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), Javier Licandro and Julia de León have already started to work in the calibration of …Read More

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Hayabusa2 Team Prepares For Asteroid Sample Collection

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA’s) Hayabusa-2 mission is on track to return samples from its target asteroid, 162173 Ryugu, a C-type Near Earth Asteroid (NEA). The past month has seen the successful deployment of two rovers and a lander. The mission focus is now on the successful retrieval and return of a surface sample. Two …Read More

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OSIRIS-REx Executes Second Asteroid Approach Maneuver

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft executed its second Asteroid Approach Maneuver (AAM-2) yesterday. The spacecraft’s main engine thrusters fired in a braking maneuver designed to slow the spacecraft’s speed relative to Bennu from 315 mph (141 m/sec) to 11.8 mph (5.2 m/sec). Likewise, the spacecraft’s approach speed dropped from nearly 7,580 miles (12,200 km) to 280 miles …Read More

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MASCOT Successfully Completes The Exploration Of The Surface Of Asteroid Ryugu

It was a day full of exciting moments and a happy team of scientists and engineers — late in the afternoon of October 3, 2018, the German-French lander MASCOT completed its historic exploration of the surface of the asteroid Ryugu at 21:04 CEST, as its battery ran out. On-asteroid operations were originally scheduled to last …Read More

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MASCOT Lands Safely On Asteroid Ryugu

The near-Earth asteroid Ryugu, located approximately 300 million kilometers from Earth, has a new inhabitant. On October 3, 2018, the Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) landed on the asteroid and began to work. The lander successfully separated from the Japanese Hayabusa2 space probe at 03:58 CEST. The day before, the Japanese Space Agency’s Hayabusa2 began …Read More

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OSIRIS-REx Executes First Asteroid Approach Maneuver

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft executed its first Asteroid Approach Maneuver (AAM-1) today putting it on course for its scheduled arrival at the asteroid Bennu in December. The spacecraft’s main engine thrusters fired in a braking maneuver designed to slow the spacecraft’s speed relative to Bennu from approximately 1,100 mph (491 m/sec) to 313 mph (140 m/sec). …Read More

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Four Extremely Young Asteroid Families Identified

Four families of extremely young asteroids have been identified by researchers affiliated with São Paulo State University (UNESP) in Guaratinguetá, Brazil. An article on the discovery has been published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The group is led by Italian-born physicist Valerio Carruba, currently a professor in UNESP’s Mathematics Department. “We identified …Read More

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Asteroid ‘Time Capsules’ May Help Explain How Life Started On Earth

In popular culture, asteroids play the role of apocalyptic threat, get blamed for wiping out the dinosaurs – and offer an extraterrestrial source for mineral mining. But for researcher Nicholas Hud, asteroids play an entirely different role: that of time capsules showing what molecules originally existed in our solar system. Having that information gives scientists …Read More

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Space Resources Program Approved For Fall 2018 Launch

A first-of-its-kind graduate program in space resources will officially lift off at Colorado School of Mines this fall. Post-baccalaureate certificates, master’s degrees and doctoral degrees will be offered through the unique interdisciplinary program, which aims to prepare scientists, engineers, economists, policymakers and entrepreneurs to responsibly explore, extract and use resources on the Moon, Mars, asteroids …Read More

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