NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is scheduled to return the first U.S. sample of an asteroid to Earth on September 24, 2023. The capsule containing the sample will descend through the atmosphere and land in the Utah desert.
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A team of scientists and engineers will then retrieve and analyze the sample.
The OSIRIS-REx sample capsule is about the size of a mini-fridge. It will enter Earth's atmosphere at a speed of approximately 26,000 miles per hour. The capsule's heat shield will protect it from the extreme heat of atmospheric entry.
The capsule will slow down as it descends through the atmosphere. It will use a parachute to further slow its descent and land safely in the Utah desert.
The OSIRIS-REx sample capsule is scheduled to land in the Utah Test and Training Range, a large military base located in the western part of the state. The landing site is a remote area that is well-suited for recovering the sample capsule.
Retrieval and Analysis
A team of scientists and engineers will be on hand to retrieve the sample capsule after it lands. They will carefully transport the capsule to a laboratory for analysis.
The sample will be analyzed using a variety of techniques, including microscopy, spectroscopy, and radiometric dating. Scientists will use the sample to learn more about the composition and structure of asteroids, the formation and evolution of our solar system, and the possibility of life beyond Earth.
The return of the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample is a major event for NASA and the scientific community. The sample has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of asteroids and the early solar system.
The retrieval and analysis of the sample will be a complex and challenging process. However, the scientists and engineers involved in the mission are confident that they will be able to successfully retrieve and analyze the sample and learn valuable new information about our solar system and the universe.