NASA Relaunches OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft to Study Approaching Asteroid Apophis
In an exciting development, NASA has relaunched its OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to gather valuable data on the approaching asteroid Apophis. This asteroid, named after the Egyptian god of Chaos, is expected to pass within 32,000 kilometers of Earth’s surface on April 13, 2029. With its 370-meter diameter, Apophis poses an intriguing opportunity for scientific research.
Now renamed OSIRIS-APEX, the spacecraft will approach as close as 25 meters to the surface of Apophis, offering a unique chance to study how the asteroid’s surface changes when interacting with Earth’s gravity. This groundbreaking mission is estimated to cost around $200 million, a significant investment to acquire critical information about this celestial body.
Apophis stands out among other asteroids due to its composition. Comprised of silicate and nickel-iron materials, it presents distinct characteristics that researchers are eager to investigate. This upcoming encounter with Apophis is of great interest to NASA as it falls within their research of planetary defense.
Fortunately, updated modeling and radar observations have ruled out the possibility of a collision between Apophis and Earth. This discovery brings relief to scientists and the general public alike, who have been monitoring the asteroid’s trajectory with great interest and anticipation. With the threat of a catastrophic impact off the table, NASA can now focus on the valuable information that can be extracted from this rare celestial event.
Following Apophis’s passage, OSIRIS-APEX will diligently study the changes caused by its proximity to Earth for the next 18 months. This in-depth analysis is crucial in enhancing our understanding of how close encounters with our planet can impact asteroids. By acquiring this knowledge, researchers hope to refine and develop more effective approaches for potential future encounters.
With the relaunch of the OSIRIS-APEX spacecraft, NASA takes yet another significant leap forward in space exploration, uncovering the mysteries of our universe. Press Stories will continue to track this mission closely, bringing you the latest updates and discoveries from this pioneering endeavor. Stay tuned for more exciting news and developments in the world of space exploration.