This view of asteroid Bennu ejecting particles from its surface was created by combining two images taken by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft on January 19, 2019.
A mighty spacecraft is headed towards Earth, carrying rock and dust from a distant asteroid to hand off to eager scientists waiting to analyze the precious sample. The OSIRIS-REx mission recently fired its thrusters to set itself on a course towards the sample drop-off site, with its rendezvous on Earth scheduled for later this month.
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft completed a trajectory correction maneuver on Sunday, altering its velocity by approximately 0.5 miles per hour (under 1 kilometer per hour) relative to Earth, the space agency announced on Monday. If it hadn’t pulled off this critical course correction, the spacecraft would have flown right past Earth.
The spacecraft is currently at a distance of 4 million miles away from Earth (7 million kilometers), traveling at a speed of about 14,000 mph (about 23,000 km/hr) toward its drop off zone. OSIRIS-REx may need to carry out another course correction maneuver on September 17, one week before its big delivery is due.
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