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Japan spacecraft carrying asteroid soil samples nears home

Japan spacecraft carrying asteroid soil samples nears home

Technology
A Japanese spacecraft is nearing Earth after a yearlong journey home from a distant asteroid with soil samples and data that could provide clues to the origins of the solar systemBy MARI YAMAGUCHI Associated PressNovember 27, 2020, 9:40 AM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleTOKYO -- A Japanese spacecraft is nearing Earth after a yearlong journey home from a distant asteroid with soil samples and data that could provide clues to the origins of the solar system, a space agency official said Friday.The Hayabusa2 spacecraft left the asteroid Ryugu, about 300 million kilometers (180 million miles) from Earth, a year ago and is expected to reach Earth and drop a capsule containing the precious samples in southern Australia on Dec. 6.Scientists at the Japan Aerospace Ex
Chinese spacecraft sets off on Moon sample quest

Chinese spacecraft sets off on Moon sample quest

Science
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NASA spacecraft collects asteroid sample 200 million miles from Earth

NASA spacecraft collects asteroid sample 200 million miles from Earth

Technology
A NASA spacecraft has successfully descended on an asteroid to collect a sample to return to Earth, the space centre has confirmed.On Tuesday, the Osiris-Rex made a four-and-a-half hour journey from its orbit of the Bennu asteroid 200 million miles from Earth to hover just above its surface. It had to dodge boulders the size of buildings and reach for a spot as small as a parking space with an 11ft robotic arm to grab a miniscule amount of rubble from the asteroid.The mission lasted between five and 10 seconds, but the team in Denver had to wait for the radio communication delay to find out exactly what had happened.Finally after 18 minutes, the Osiris-Rex sent confirmation the mission had been successful, drawing cheers from the NASA base. ...
Touch-and-go: US spacecraft sampling asteroid for return

Touch-and-go: US spacecraft sampling asteroid for return

Technology
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- After almost two years circling an ancient asteroid hundreds of millions of miles away, a NASA spacecraft this week will attempt to descend to the treacherous, boulder-packed surface and snatch a handful of rubble.The drama unfolds Tuesday as the U.S. takes its first crack at collecting asteroid samples for return to Earth, a feat accomplished so far only by Japan.Brimming with names inspired by Egyptian mythology, the Osiris-Rex mission is looking to bring back at least 2 ounces (60 grams) worth of asteroid Bennu, the biggest otherworldly haul from beyond the moon.The van-sized spacecraft is aiming for the relatively flat middle of a tennis court-sized crater named Nightingale — a spot comparable to a few parking places here on Earth. Boulders as big as buildings l
Orion spacecraft ready to return humans to deep space, officials say

Orion spacecraft ready to return humans to deep space, officials say

Science
ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 16 (UPI) -- The anticipated return to deep space in 2024 for the first time in nearly 50 years brings a unique set of challenges that only one spacecraft on the planet currently can meet, officials with Lockheed Martin said at a global space event this week. Life support and radiation shielding systems on NASA's Orion spacecraft, built by Lockheed, make it qualified for deep space missions -- those beyond low-Earth orbit where the International Space Station is situated, said Shelby Hopkins, senior systems engineer for Lockheed's Orion program. Advertisement "Deep Space has really unique environment and is more dangerous than low-Earth orbit, so we have to consider things like increased radiation ... it forces us to come up with innovative solutions," Hopkins said duri...