The American space probe OSIRIS-REx has lost some of the soil samples that it took from the surface of the asteroid Bennu. This was stated in a message published on Friday, October 23, at website NASA.
Specialists of the department came to this conclusion after studying the images obtained on October 22, which confirmed that the probe took more samples of the asteroid’s soil than planned – 60 g.
According to NASA experts, the shutters of the locking mechanism of the material intake device are stuck due to large fragments of soil, smaller particles seep into the cracks and end up in outer space.
As noted, in order to preserve the remaining samples, the OSIRIS-REx team of operators decided to refrain from the soil mass measurement procedure, which was scheduled for Saturday, 24 October. In addition, she canceled the braking maneuver scheduled for Friday in order to minimize the vehicle’s acceleration.
The collected soil capsule is expected to be delivered to Earth in 2023.
The OSIRIS-Rex (Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer) mission, worth $ 1 billion, was launched back in 2016, the device made a gravitational maneuver around the Earth a year later, and in 2018 reached its target – the asteroid Bennu, which orbits the Sun with a period of 1.2 Earth years.