On September 24, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) announced that the OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft has returned to its permanent home at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, after an expedition to the solar system.
The team of researchers will isolate themselves for the next few weeks in a clean room built exclusively to analyze samples from Bennu, an asteroid over 500 meters in diameter that, according to NASA calculations, may affect our planet.
The cleaning room includes boxes with gloves that fit into a container called TAGSAM (Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism). A statement from the Agency details that “the head of TAGSAM is at the end of a robotic arm collecting rocks and dust from the surface of the asteroid Bennu, on October 20, 2020.”
The researchers will analyze the asteroid dust from the initial disassembly to examine the chemical, mineralogical and physical characteristics and rock types found in the bulk sample.
NASA’s letter details that they plan to share these initial findings, in addition to the first images of the sample, in a live broadcast on October 11.
When will Bennu crash into Earth?
It’s no secret that NASA has classified the asteroid Bennu as a “potentially hazardous object.” According to the Agency, this body is 500 meters in diameter; To get a better idea of some of the tallest buildings in the world, the Empire State Building in New York is 443 meters tall; while the Eiffel Tower, in Paris, measures 324 meters.
In the event that this body is able to impact our planet, the expected date is September 24, 2182. In the event of a collision, the energy released will be equivalent to that produced by 22 atomic bombs.
The calculation established that in its free fall from space to Earth it would travel at 11,000 kilometers per hour, which is equivalent to the release of 1,400 megatons of energy.