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NASA Mission AMA: We are scientists and engineers preparing for the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft’s Earth flyby tomorrow. Ask us anything!
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Thanks for the great questions, Reddit! We’re done answering for the day and are off to finish preparations for tomorrow’s Earth Gravity Assist maneuver. Tomorrow, NASA’s asteroid-hunting spacecraft, OSIRIS-REx, will fly by Earth and use the planet’s gravitational pull to slingshot itself onto a new trajectory. This maneuver, called an Earth Gravity Assist (EGA), will put the spacecraft on course to rendezvous with a primitive, near-Earth asteroid named Bennu. The spacecraft will reach Bennu next year, map the asteroid, and collect a sample of surface material (called regolith) that will be returned to Earth for study in 2023. This mission will bring the largest sample of space material to Earth since the Apollo missions’ lunar samples. We’re a group of scientists and engineers based at the University of Arizona—home to the mission’s Principal Investigator’s office and the Science Processing Operations Center—ready to answer your questions about OSIRIS-REx, EGA, and the mission to collect some of the oldest material in the solar system. We’ll be online from 1 to 3 pm PST (4 to 6 pm EST). Ask us anything! Proof: https://www.asteroidmission.org/reddit-ask-us-anything-earth-gravity-assist/ Dr. Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx Principal Investigator Sara Knutson, OSIRIS-REx Science Operations Lead Engineer Dr. Ellen Howell, OSIRIS-REx Senior Research Scientist, Asteroid Spectroscopy Joshua Nelson, OSIRIS-REx Science Operations Engineer Anjani Polit, OSIRIS-REx Mission Implementation Systems Engineer Heather Enos, OSIRIS-REx Deputy Principal Investigator Dr. Lucy Lim, OSIRIS-REx Assistant Project Scientist