20 June 2024
NASA asteroid sampling mission renamed OSIRIS-APEX for new journey

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NASA’s revamped OSIRIS-APEX mission is gearing up for a groundbreaking encounter with asteroid Apophis, seizing a rare opportunity as the space rock makes its closest approach to Earth in millennia during its 2029 flyby.

Hey there, space enthusiasts and curious minds! Have you heard the latest space gossip that’s hotter than a meteor entering Earth’s atmosphere? Well, let me fill you in on the buzz that’s been lighting up telescopes like holiday lights!



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Published on: December 4, 2023 Description: The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft's name has been changed to OSIRIS-APEX for its new mission to asteroid Apophis. See it's journey to ...
OSIRIS-APEX's epic journey to asteroid Apophis in time-lapsed orbit animation
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Our good pal, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, is not ready to retire to the space junkyard just yet. After its epic road trip to asteroid Bennu, where it snagged some souvenirs to bring back home, it’s now embarking on an even wilder adventure and getting a snazzy new name to boot: OSIRIS-APEX. Talk about a glow-up!

Now, this isn’t just any old space cruise. OSIRIS-APEX is headed to meet up with the one and only asteroid Apophis. This rocky celebrity is going to swing by Earth in 2029, and it’s going to be a showstopper. We’re talking about a cosmic event so rare, it’s like winning the interstellar lottery!

Apophis is an “S-type” asteroid, which is like the cool cousin of Bennu’s “C-type.” It’s made up of silicate materials and nickel-iron, which is pretty different from Bennu’s carbon-rich composition. But what’s really got scientists buzzing is Apophis’ upcoming Earth flyby. This rock star is going to strut past Earth so close that you might spot it without a telescope if you’re hanging out in the right hemisphere.

And here’s where it gets even juicier: when Apophis does its flyby, it’s going to give Earth a gravitational high-five that’ll shake things up. It could cause quakes and landslides on the asteroid’s surface, churning up all sorts of interesting bits for scientists to study. It’s like nature’s own version of an excavation site, revealing secrets hidden beneath the surface without us having to lift a finger—or a rover arm, for that matter.

But why should we care about a hunk of rock millions of miles away? Well, turns out, studying Apophis is like doing detective work on the history of our solar system. Plus, it’s also about keeping our planet safe. Most of the potentially dangerous asteroids out there are similar to Apophis, so understanding this one could help us prepare for any future unwelcome visitors.

OSIRIS-APEX is going to have a front-row seat to all this action. It’ll start snapping pics of Apophis before the big pass and then get real up-close and personal afterward. The spacecraft will even do a daring maneuver, skimming just above the surface and puffing its thrusters to kick up dust. It’s like the grand finale of a fireworks show, but with space rocks!

So, while we’re waiting for OSIRIS-APEX to reach its new buddy, let’s remember that space is full of surprises. Who knows what secrets Apophis will unveil? One thing’s for sure, though: the universe never fails to amaze us with its wonders, and I, for one, can’t wait to see what OSIRIS-APEX will discover on its new journey. Keep your eyes to the skies, folks!

SOURCE: NASA asteroid sampling mission renamed OSIRIS-APEX for new journey

https://phys.org/news/2023-12-nasa-asteroid-sampling-mission-renamed.html

FAQ’s

1. What is an “S-type” asteroid?

An “S-type” asteroid refers to a type of asteroid that is composed of silicate materials and nickel-iron. It is different from a “C-type” asteroid which has a carbon-rich composition, like Bennu.

2. How close will asteroid Apophis come to Earth during its flyby?

Asteroid Apophis will come so close to Earth during its flyby in 2029 that it may be visible without a telescope, especially if you are in the right hemisphere.

3. What potential effects will Apophis’ flyby have on Earth?

Apophis’ flyby could potentially cause quakes and landslides on its surface due to the gravitational interaction with Earth. This provides scientists with an opportunity to study interesting bits and learn more about the asteroid.

4. Why is studying Apophis important?

Studying Apophis provides valuable insights into the history of our solar system. Additionally, understanding asteroids like Apophis can help us prepare for potential future asteroid impacts and keep our planet safe.

5. What is OSIRIS-APEX’s mission in relation to Apophis?

OSIRIS-APEX is a spacecraft that will observe and study asteroid Apophis. It will take pictures of the asteroid before and after its flyby, and even perform a daring maneuver to get up-close and kick up dust from the surface for further analysis.



Related Wikipedia Articles

Topics: Asteroid Apophis, OSIRIS-APEX (spacecraft), S-type asteroid

99942 Apophis
99942 Apophis (provisional designation 2004 MN4) is a near-Earth asteroid and a potentially hazardous object with a diameter of 370 metres (1,210 feet) that caused a brief period of concern in December 2004 when initial observations indicated a probability up to 2.7% that it would hit Earth on April 13,...
Read more: 99942 Apophis

OSIRIS-REx
OSIRIS-REx was a NASA asteroid-study and sample-return mission that visited and collected samples from 101955 Bennu, a carbonaceous near-Earth asteroid. The material, returned in September 2023, is expected to enable scientists to learn more about the formation and evolution of the Solar System, its initial stages of planet formation, and...
Read more: OSIRIS-REx

S-type asteroid
S-type asteroids are asteroids with a spectral type that is indicative of a siliceous (i.e. stony) mineralogical composition, hence the name. They have relatively high density. Approximately 17% of asteroids are of this type, making it the second-most common after the carbonaceous C-type.
Read more: S-type asteroid

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