Video — Of OSIRIS-REx’s “Bootprint” — Left On The Surface Of Asteroid Bennu…

In about a month, the lithe little craft will have safely maneuvered far enough away from Bennu, in a gingerly back-pedalling fashion, so as not to knock Bennu around, when her main engine fires. She will then ignite that engine, and head back home to Earth — some 182 million miles away, if one measures along the roughly circular orbital path she will need to take — to catch up to Earth, then overtake her, and then parachute the sample container down safely into the vast Utah desert. . . sometime in June of 2023. [My December 2018 poetry infused backgrounder here — as she approached Bennu.]

NASA has put together a short video, to highlight the amount of material the nitrogen blast moved, on the sufrace of Bennu six months ago — including tossing a boulder that would weigh about a ton on Earth, but in the micro-gravity of Bennu. . . would be roughly like rolling a crumpled piece of paper across the wooden floor of your room, using only an air-blast from your blow-dryer. Here’s a bit, then — from the online journal of this morning:

. . .A depression is visible where Osiris-Rex penetrated the asteroid’s surface. Boulders were hurled by the pressurized nitrogen gas that was fired at the ground to churn up material for vacuuming, and by the spacecraft’s getaway thruster. One 1-ton boulder was flung an estimated 40 feet (12 meters). . . .

The Osiris-Rex team meticulously plotted the final flyover to ensure the best shots. The pictures were taken around noontime to avoid shadows and better see the changes on Bennu’s rocky surface. . . .

Now you know — have a wonderful weekend, one and all of good will. . . . smile.


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