With a sample of the asteroid Bennu in his case, NASA’s “Osiris Rex” probe has returned to Earth. The US space agency NASA announced that the probe left Benno’s orbit on Monday. In October, the “Osiris Rex” sample took from the asteroid during a complex maneuver that lasted several hours – the first American rocket in space history. The probe is now expected to deliver this sample to Earth in September 2023.
“Osiris Rex” (an acronym that stands for: Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer) took off from Cape Canaveral spaceport in September 2016 and arrived in Benno about two years later. Since then, the spacecraft, which is about six meters long and weighs 2,100 kilograms, has orbited the asteroid and examined it with its scientific instruments and cameras.
The dark black Bennu, named after an ancient Egyptian god, is about 550 meters in diameter and could come very close to Earth within 150 years. Even if the collision risk is very low, NASA Bennu is one of the most dangerous asteroids currently known – and therefore it wants to search for it very carefully.