Welcome back to another segment of Universe Playpen! This Monday, we’re looking at the exciting missions ongoing or upcoming for asteroids in the Solar System!
OSISRIS-REx: Today marks the last course correction maneuver for this small spacecraft to reach in synchronous orbit with the asteroid Bennu! It will then arrive at Bennu on December 3rd, 2018! It will then orbit the asteroid and look for a target site. Once the target site is selected, the maneuver Touch-and-Go will be put into play! This is where an arm of OSIRIS-REx will scoop the surface for up to 5 seconds. From there, more course corrections will occur to bring back the sample to Earth!
PSYCHE: This in-the-works mission, set to launch in 2022, will have 4 scientific instruments to study the metal-rich asteroid, Psyche. Psyche has many theories as to its origin, so having a mission dedicated to this asteroid will help determine many characteristics of metal-heavy asteroids- possibly even theories on planetary core formation!
ARRM: NASA is very keen on Near Earth Object (NEO) safety. This mission, the Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission (ARRM), still on the drawing board, will hope to develop technologies on redirecting asteroids to orbit the Moon or further out (away from Earth essentially!)
Thank you for reading and come back next week for a look at winter seasons on other planets!