Domingo, 16 Diciembre, 2018

NASA's OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Spies Earth and Moon

Distance From Earth to Moon Revealed in Striking New NASA Picture NASA's new 60th anniversary logo depicts 'historic past and inspiring future'
Ramiro Mantilla | 05 Enero, 2018, 18:08

It is one of the Apollo asteroids, a group that regularly pass by our planet.

The composite image was made from data captured by OSIRIS-REx's MapCam instrument. The image was taken on 2 October, according to Nasa. It captured not just Saturn's iconic rings but also the Earth and the Moon in the same photograph.

Anyone who looks to the heavens in awe will undoubtedly glow when inspecting the logo, particularly the vectors, with the blue one representing "NASA's roots in aeronautics research and the societal impact of our first views of Earth as a solitary 'blue marble' in the vast blackness of space", and the red one reflecting its " leadership of an innovative and sustainable exploration program that engages commercial and international partners; enables expansion of human presence to the Moon, Mars and throughout the solar system; and brings new knowledge and opportunities back to Earth".

The potentially hazardous asteroid, which is 22.6 to 49 feet in diameter (seven to 15 metres) skimmed past Earth at 4.56pm GMT (11.56 ET) this afternoon.

Three images (different color wavelengths) were combined and color-corrected to make the composite, and the Moon was 'stretched' (brightened) to make it more easily visible.

"The purpose of OSIRIS-REx is to map and return at least a 2.1-ounce sample from Bennu, a carbon-rich hunk of rock that might contain organic materials or molecular precursors to life", the mission scientists said.

Nasa is currently moving forward with a refrigerator-sized spacecraft capable of preventing asteroids from colliding with Earth. Two stylized spaceships zoom around the lettering, giving it a hint of retro sci-fi feel.

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) would use what is known as a kinetic impactor technique-striking the asteroid to shift its orbit.

At its closest point, the asteroid will be around 140,000 miles away from Earth.

This means it's larger than previously thought, by about 0.6 miles (one kilometre).

The spacecraft was approximately 3,370,000 miles (5,420,000 km) from the Moon and 3,180,000 miles (5,120,000 km) from Earth - or about 13 times the separation distance between the Earth and Moon.

Before its approach, NASA revealed asteroid 3200 Phaethon is classed as 'potentially hazardous'.

The OSIRIS-REx is expected to reach Bennu in August 2018.

Image credit: NASA/ Goddard / University of Arizona.