Argentine Lucas Paganini, a NASA planetary scientist, is ready to obtain a capsule with a valuable cargo within the Utah desert (USA) this Sunday: a handful of rocks and dirt from the asteroid Bennu that present distinctive details about its formation. Photo voltaic system about 4.5 billion years in the past.
A pattern of the 250-gram asteroid Bennu could make clear questions which have haunted humanity for hundreds of years: What’s the origin of life? How did the photo voltaic system kind? What secrets and techniques do asteroids cover?
“Meteorites,” says EFE, “are crucial as a result of they’re the particles that existed when the planets fashioned 4.5 billion years in the past. They’re like time capsules, equal to dinosaur fossils, that permit us to know what occurred hundreds of thousands of years in the past. .” “On this case, with our mission, we’re touring again billions of years.”
There are two theories concerning the origin of life: one says that natural molecules got here from outer area by way of meteorites, and the opposite argues that these molecules originated on our personal planet.
The Bennu samples will present scientists with a singular alternative to raised perceive the origin of those first molecules and the position asteroids performed of their existence on Earth, which can higher clarify the origin of life on Earth. , says Paganini.
Nonetheless, earlier than NASA scientists can study these samples, the capsule containing them should return safely to Earth after a 7-year journey from Cape Canaveral Station (Florida).
After being launched by its mom ship, the Osiris-Rex spacecraft, it’s anticipated to enter Earth’s environment at a distance of about 102,000 kilometers at 08:42 Utah native time (14:42 GMT), equal to a 3rd. Distance between Earth and Moon.
The capsule will enter the environment at a velocity of about 44,500 kilometers per hour, encountering temperatures of as much as 2,000 levels Celsius throughout its descent. Certainly, Paganini defined, it’d appear to be a “ball of fireside” if it had been at night time, however in the course of the day it could barely be seen within the sky.
The capsule, which Paganini says resembles a “cradle,” is fitted with a warmth defend designed to guard Bennu’s rocks and dirt from the warmth.
After getting into the environment, a parachute will open and roughly 13 minutes later, the capsule will contact down at 08:55 native time (14:55 GMT) within the Utah desert, in its designated arrival space. 58 kilometers 14 kilometers.
“As soon as the capsule descends, rescue groups will method the touchdown web site by helicopter,” explains Paganini.
There they might retrieve the sealed capsule and take it to a chamber freed from any molecules that might contaminate Bennu’s rocks and soil. The following day, a flight will take her to Houston, residence of NASA’s Johnson Area Heart.
That’s when NASA scientists will start analyzing the samples, in an effort to uncover the secrets and techniques held within the stays of the asteroid Bennu, advancing our understanding of the historical past of the photo voltaic system and the origin of life on the planet.