OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sample to Land on 24th September20th Sep 2023
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification and Security – Regolith Explorer) is on it’s path back to Earth from Bennu, an asteroid. The asteroid sample within the capsule offers the prospect of providing amazing insights into the time when the Sun and planets were originally formed.
This historic arrival will take place on Sunday, 24th September. The return is marked by many different events, the timing of which NASA has now finalized. For more details on the landing and the mission itself, check out our in-depth look at OSIRIS-REx here.
To start, the OSIRIS-REx Sample Return pre-landing media teleconference will take place on Friday the 22nd, with an update on the status of the landing. NASA will also provide live and taped interviews with members of the team, providing more information on the mission management, and how this capsule has been retrieved. The U.S. Postal Service will also hold a first day of issue ceremony for a stamp that features the OSIRIS-REx. This will take palace at the Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City with members from the media in attendance.
The landing itself will take place at 10 a.m. EDT (3 p.m. BST) on the 24th, and the asteroid sample should return somewhere in the Utah desert ready for retrieval. The whole event will be available to view on NASA TV, the NASA app, online at https://www.nasa.gov/live.
After the sample has arrived on Earth, there will be a post-landing news conference. It is currently scheduled for 3 p.m EDT (8 p.m. BST) with a full briefing, and the opportunity for the media to ask questions.
A Pinpoint Landing for an Asteroid Sample
For the landing to be successful and return the materials from the near-Earth asteroid Bennu, OSIRIS-REx must travel at a precise speed and direction, as the capsule with the sample will be released into the atmosphere. Utah’s Test and Training Range, part of the U.S. Department of Defense, will make plans to retrieve the capsule from the Western Desert in Utah.
We then face a wait to learn more. The full sample will be unveiled to members of the press at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston on 11th October, along with some initial findings and analysis from the sample.
An Ongoing Mission
NASA recently build a new OSIRIS-REx Sample Curation Laboratory and will work with a network of scientists all over the world. An asteroid sample will be sent to some top universities and research teams to help us to learn about how the solar system formed, and even the very origins of the organics that initially made up life on earth.
The historic landing on 24th September is just the beginning.