This image shows sample site Nightingale Crater, OSIRIS-REx’s primary sample collection site on asteroid Bennu. The image is overlaid with a graphic of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to illustrate the scale of the site.

In August, the robotic spacecraft will make NASA’s first-ever attempt to descend to the surface of an asteroid, collect a sample and ultimately bring it safely back to Earth. In order to achieve this challenging feat, the mission team devised new techniques to operate in asteroid Bennu’s microgravity environment – but they still need experience flying the spacecraft in close proximity to the asteroid in order to test them. So, before touching down at sample site Nightingale this summer, OSIRIS-REx will first rehearse the activities leading up to the event.

On Apr. 14, the mission will pursue its first practice run – officially known as “Checkpoint” rehearsal – which will also place the spacecraft the closest it’s ever been to Bennu. This rehearsal is a chance for the OSIRIS-REx team and spacecraft to test the first steps of the robotic sample collection event.

There will be a four-hour social media campaign on @OSIRISREx and @NASASolarSystem.

Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

这张图片显示了样本地点南丁格尔陨石坑,OSIRIS-REx的主要样本收集地点小行星贝努。图片上覆盖了一幅OSIRIS-REx航天器的图片,以说明该地点的规模。

今年8月,这架自动航天器将首次尝试降落到一颗小行星的表面,收集样本,并最终将其安全带回地球。为了完成这一具有挑战性的壮举,任务团队设计了在小行星贝努的微重力环境下运行的新技术,但他们仍然需要让航天器飞近小行星进行测试的经验。因此,OSIRIS-REx在今年夏天降落在南丁格尔陨石坑样本基底之前,首先要排练样本采集前的情况。

在4月14日,这次任务将进行它的第一次试运行——正式名称为“检查点”预演——这也将使宇宙飞船最接近贝努。这次预演为OSIRIS-REx团队和航天器测试机器人样本收集活动的第一步提供了机会。

@OSIRISREx@NASASolarSystem上将有一个为时四个小时的社交媒体活动。

图片来源:NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

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