NASA's OSIRIS-Rex to have last encounter with asteroid Bennu on April 7
New Delhi : NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will have its last close encounter with asteroid Bennu on April 7 as it will try to capture images of asteroid's surface.
During its last encounter, asteroid Bennu will be observed from the distance of approximately 3.7 kms, its closest since the day Touch-and-Go Sample Collection event on October 20, 2020, said NASA.
During touchdown, the spacecraft's sampling head sunk 48.8 centimetres into the asteroid's surface and simultaneously fired a pressurised charge of nitrogen gas.
The spacecraft's thrusters also mobilised a substantial amount of surface material during the back-away burn.
Since Bennu's gravity is very poor, a significant damage was seen at the touchdown site with a lot of dust.
The primary aim of the upcoming flyby is to observe the impact of the spacecraft on Bennu's surface.
After the Bennu flyby, it will take several days for the data from the flyover to be downlinked to Earth. The spacecraft will stay in Bennu’s surrounding till May 10, when the mission will enter its Return Cruise phase and begin its two-year journey back to Earth.