The pattern assortment course of was a fastidiously orchestrated dance. OSIRIS-REx prolonged its 2 meter (6.6 foot) TAGSAM robotic arm with the 30 cm (1 foot) extensive sampling head hooked up, whereas folding in its photo voltaic panels to guard them. The probe then slowly approached the floor, ultimately touching all the way down to inside a single meter (3.Three ft) of the chosen goal. All the course of was monitored by the SamCam imaging digicam mounted above the arm.
The digicam reveals the TAGSAM head approaching after which impacting Bennu’s floor at simply 0.2 mph, penetrating in to the regolith. At first, it seems to crush some porous rocks under, after which a second later, fires a nitrogen gasoline bottle. That stirred up “a considerable quantity of the pattern web site’s materials,” NASA mentioned, to place it mildly. It spent round 5 to 6 seconds accumulating materials, with the bulk gathered within the first three seconds.
The pinnacle is designed to catch and retailer that stirred-up floor materials. OSIRIS-REx will first take an image of the collector head to substantiate the presence of regolith, after which on Saturday, measure the mass of rock and mud by spinning on its axis like a centrifuge.
NASA mentioned that the sampling “went pretty much as good as we imagined it might,” because it crushed lots of materials that ought to have been collected within the pattern chamber. Scientists have already realized lots about Bennu simply by watching the video of the affect, however we’ll have to attend three lengthy years for the spacecraft to return to Earth, earlier than we will confirm what it’s truly product of.