The first U.S. mission to collect a sample of an asteroid and return it to Earth for study is undergoing a major milestone in its environmental testing.
NASA's Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft is in thermal vacuum testing, designed to simulate the harsh environment of space and see how the spacecraft and its instruments operate under 'flight-like' conditions.
OSIRIS-REx is scheduled to launch in September and travel to the asteroid Bennu to collect a sample and return it to Earth for study.
Scientists expect Bennu may hold clues to the origin of the solar system and the source of the water and organic molecules that may have made their way to Earth.
On Feb. 11, the orbiter was lifted into a 65-foot-tall thermal vacuum chamber at Lockheed Martin's facility near Denver, Colorado.
OSIRIS-REx will be powered on and off while being in a vacuum and exposed to extreme cold and heat that it will see over its seven-year mission to Bennu. After the air has been removed from the chamber, liquid nitrogen is pumped into tubes that run throughout the wall of the chamber, bringing the temperature down to as low as minus 274 degrees Fahrenheit.
A powerful light is turned on periodically to simulate the sun and the heat the spacecraft will experience. Throughout the 22-day test, a team of engineers test and monitor the spacecraft and its instruments 24 hours a day.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland provides overall mission management, systems engineering and safety and mission assurance for OSIRIS-REx. The University of Arizona, Tucson leads the science team and observation planning and processing.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver is building the spacecraft. OSIRIS-REx is the third mission in NASA's New Frontiers Program. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages New Frontiers for the agency's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
For more information about NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission, visit:
Nancy Neal-Jones | EurekAlert!
Abrupt motion sharpens x-ray pulses
28.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kernphysik
Physicists Design Ultrafocused Pulses
27.07.2017 | Universität Innsbruck
Spectrally narrow x-ray pulses may be “sharpened” by purely mechanical means. This sounds surprisingly, but a team of theoretical and experimental physicists developed and realized such a method. It is based on fast motions, precisely synchronized with the pulses, of a target interacting with the x-ray light. Thereby, photons are redistributed within the x-ray pulse to the desired spectral region.
A team of theoretical physicists from the MPI for Nuclear Physics (MPIK) in Heidelberg has developed a novel method to intensify the spectrally broad x-ray...
Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.
Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...
Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers
Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...
Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.
At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...
3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects
A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...
26.07.2017 | Event News
21.07.2017 | Event News
19.07.2017 | Event News
28.07.2017 | Health and Medicine
28.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
28.07.2017 | Life Sciences