The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is coming back. The spacecraft was launched in September 2016 by NASA. It will reach Earth in 2023. The spacecraft is carrying rocks and dust from Bennu. Bennu is an asteroid. NASA said that the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is on its way home. Before the Splashdown, the spacecraft will orbit the Sun two times. NASA said that OSIRIS-REx ha May 10 fired its main engines full throttle. It reignited the engines for around seven minutes. This helped the spacecraft to undertake a crucial maneuver since its arrival at Bennu in 2018. The engines provided a thrust to the spacecraft to go away from Bennu at 600 miles per hour.
The spacecraft is heading towards Earth. It will complete the journey in nearly 2.5 years. NASA said that the sample capsule will land on September 24, 2023. The spacecraft will release the capsule before firing its engines. The capsule is planned to land at the Utah Test and Training Range. It will make a safe fly by Earth once the capsule is detached. The spacecraft will put itself on a trajectory to orbit the Sun inside of the orbit of Venus which is the second planet in the solar system. NASA noted that OSIRIS-REx spacecraft exceeded many scientific expectations. It underlined that OSIRIS-REx performed many daring acts, demonstrated technologies, and innovative ways to explore the outer world.
NASA said that Bennu samples will help researchers to unlock the secrets of the Universe. The spacecraft collected more than 60 grams of soil from the asteroid’s surface. It performed a Touch-and-Go attempt to lift samples. OSIRIS-REx collected samples from Bennu’s surface in October last year. The site of the sample collection has been named as Nightingale. NASA said that the mission to extract Bennu samples was instrumental in several scientific findings. The samples will be distributed to laboratories across the world to conduct studies. Scientists will use the information from Bennu to prepare theoretical models and plan for future missions. This is the first time when NASA is bringing back asteroid samples. It has already brought back rocks from Moon.