Artwork: Osiris-Rex approaching the surface of Asteroid Bennu/NASA/GODDARD/UOA

American spacecraft is about to attempt an audacious task of grabbing rock samples from an asteroid called Bennu in space.

Osiris-Rex probe was developed by Lockheed Martin Company in the United States.

Osiris-Rex Probe will lower itself over 500m Wide asteroid, the sample collection will take a few seconds before takeoff.

Image Source: NASA – BBC

“We estimate that our time on the surface will be between five and 10 seconds before the spacecraft backs away with the sample safely inside of the sampler head,” BBC quoted, Sandra Freund, the mission operations manager from Lockheed Martin Space company.

The spacecraft will deliver a squirt of gas to stir up the surface, as expectations predict a handful of dust and grit will be caught for further examinations to the Earth.

The aim is to catch 60 grams of asteroid samples but the scientists and engineers are reportedly confident the probe will secure a kilo or more.

If the Nasa led mission is successful, it will be the biggest extraterrestrial- return catch since the picked-up rocks by the Apollo astronauts 50 years ago.

Contact with the asteroid is timed to occur just before 22:15 GMT (23:15 BST) on Wednesday, Bennu is Approximately 330 million km away from Earth.

Author

  • Mohammad Haroon Alim holds a BBA degree from Kardan University. He works as a sub-editor for Khaama Press.