This evening at midnight, the American probe Osiris-Rex will attempt to land on the asteroid Bennu to “go back in time”

The probe is to land on Bennu, some 300 million kilometers from Earth, to take samples. And try to learn more about the formation of the solar system, and the appearance of life.

After a journey of some 300 million kilometers, and two years of orbit around Bennu, the American probe Osiris-Rex (for “ Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer ”) will attempt Tuesday, October 20 to land on the asteroid to take samples.

Osiris-Rex will be like a mosquito that bites and immediately takes off again: the probe will only stay on Bennu for a few seconds. With a telescopic arm deployed during the descent, the probe will project pressurized nitrogen to the surface of the asteroid and recover in its nets the very fine pieces of material thus lifted. With the aim of collecting at least 60 grams of this dust from the origins of the solar system.

>> From 11 p.m. French time, follow the direct from NASA:

We are trying to go back in time, to understand how the planets were formed, indicates Patrick Michel, astrophysicist and research director at CNRS. If I want to make planets, I have to leave with the right ingredients, like when we make a cooking recipe. And these ingredients are found in asteroids! ”

These asteroids are potentially rich in organic matter and according to our scenarios of the first phases of the Earth’s formation, it is believed that they are the ones who brought water and perhaps even all the organic matter that allowed the emergence of the living.Patrick Michelto franceinfo

” By bringing back samples, continues the astrophysicist, we can study this and, I hope, make great progress in this type of questioning. ” Once captured, these Osiris-Rex samples will be placed in a capsule that will begin a journey back to Earth. The recovery is scheduled for September 2023. If NASA will start broadcasting its live at 11 p.m. French time, the collection of the sample must take place at midnight and 12 minutes.

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