Osiris-Rex probe issues reported by NASA.
The US agency reported that the Osiris-Rex probe began to lose the particles it collected from the asteroid Bennu. The compartment could not close.
NASA reported Friday, that the probe Osiris-Rex, began to lose the particles that it had collected this week, from the asteroid Bennu, because it raised more than planned and the cargo failed to close.
A substantial fraction of the collected mass was escaping, Mission Chief Dante Lauretta reported, during a conference call.
The probe collected about 400 grams of fragments more than the minimum of 60 grams that was thought of, before departure.
All the fragments are in a compartment at the end of the collection arm of the Osiris-Rex probe, the closing mechanism of which is blocked by relatively large particles.
Between 5 to 10 grams have already been observed around the collecting arm, in a more or less closed cloud, due to the microgravity environment, which makes the fragments behave like fluids.
As a consequence of this problem, the mass measurement operation, initially scheduled for Saturday was canceled, as it ran the risk of dispersing the samples even further.
During these hours, the scientists worked to minimize the activities of the apparatus and prepare as quickly as possible, the storage of the samples in a container in the Osiris-Rex probe.
This Thursday, after the success of the operation, NASA specified that the probe was not damaged when it came into contact with the asteroid, the mechanism of the Osiris-Rex probe was activated properly and was later able to move away to a safe distance.