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NASA reaches out and touches an asteroid 320 million kilometers away

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The spacecraft's performance at the asteroid Bennu, which is only about as wide as the Empire State Building is tall, was remarkable. Because the asteroid is so small, its gravity is negligible, which complicates orbital maneuvering by the spacecraft around what is, essentially, a rubble pile.

Despite these challenges, at a distance of 320 million kilometers on Tuesday, NASA engineers and scientists programmed a spacecraft to autonomously touch down within a single meter of its target area.

Newly released images of the encounter show the spacecraft's sampling arm moving toward the asteroid at a speed of 10cm per second and crushing rocks beneath it as it reaches the surface.

"Literally, we crushed it," said Dante Lauretta, principal investigator of the OSIRIS-REx mission. "When the spacecraft made contact, that rock appears to fragment and shatter, which is great news." This is because the "head" of the sampling arm can only collect material less than 2cm in diameter.

 

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Not sure if this is appropriate for technews, but this is technews in a way. We have successfully touched a distant body and have also retrieved a sample of said body. Really a glorious achievement. I am excited to see what the samples will tell us about Bennu and the solar system at large. 

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That's impressive, being able to grab a sample of an asteroid and try to send it back to Earth. NASA is also going to announce an "exciting new discovery" about the Moon on Monday.

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I never how nasa orchestrated these missions. Just trying to wrap my brain on how precise everything has to be and thats its further than you're local mcdonalds. Fascinating. Well at least I know why people say "it isn't rocket science."

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Most of this is automated by the space craft itself seeing as there is a several minute delay in communications. 

Be sure to @Pickles - Lord of the Jar if you want me to see your reply!

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fbd.jpg

 

They do such amazing work over at NASA 😮

 

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1 hour ago, Random_Person1234 said:

"exciting new discovery" about the Moon on Monday.

Nasa: the moon is not made of cheese! We can now confirm it with a 99% accuracy

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NASA found an alien colony on the dark side of the moon. More info on Monday.

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5 hours ago, LWM723 said:

NASA found an alien colony on the dark side of the moon. More info on Monday.

Funny enough thats one of the theories on why we never have gone back. 

Was there dairy in that? ***30 min later**** Yep..... You might want to let it air out for a bit.....😂😂😂😂😂😂

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What was weird to me was how desiccated and fragile it looked when the arm touched it.

It gave the impression like it would take almost nothing to break the whole thing into little pieces.

I kept thinking after watching the clip that it was like a big styrofoam rock.

 

Space is strange.    

 

😄

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3 hours ago, Intergalacticbits said:

What was weird to me was how desiccated and fragile it looked when the arm touched it.

It gave the impression like it would take almost nothing to break the whole thing into little pieces.

I kept thinking after watching the clip that it was like a big styrofoam rock.

 

Space is strange.    

 

😄

Bennu is a rubble pile. Basically, it is held together with its gravity and very litle else. 

Be sure to @Pickles - Lord of the Jar if you want me to see your reply!

Stopping by to praise the all mighty jar Lord pickles... * drinks from a chalice of holy pickle juice and tossed dill over shoulder* ~ @WarDance
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