Destination, Asteroid: NASA's OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Starts Final Approach

Even as a European lander performed an epic touchdown on an asteroid this week, NASA started its final maneuvers on Monday (Oct. 1) to send its own spacecraft to a space rock.
NASA's OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer) mission executed the first asteroid approach maneuver that day, putting the spacecraft on track for its arrival at asteroid Bennu in December, NASA said in a statement. However, it will take at least until next week to find out if the maneuver was successful, NASA said.
OSIRIS-REx performed a braking maneuver using its main engine thrusters. The procedure was designed to slow down the spacecraft to 313 mph (140 meters/second), roughly a third of the craft's previous speed of 1,100 mph (491 m/s).
The engine burn marks the beginning of a busy six weeks for the spacecraft as it completes a series of orbital tweaks that will ensure it reaches its destination.
The last of those maneuvers, scheduled for Nov. 12, will put OSIRIS-REx on track to arrive at Bennu on Dec. 3, at a distance of 12 miles (20 kilometers) from the asteroid's surface. OSIRIS-REx will then do several flybys over Bennu's poles and the equator. The mission's ultimate goal is to pick up a sample of the asteroid to return to Earth in 2023.
Meanwhile, the Hayabusa2 sample-return spacecraft successfully dropped the MASCOT (Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout) lander, a joint project of the German and French space agencies, onto the surface of asteroid Ryugu on Oct. 2. There, the lander completed a 17-hour work session. Hayabusa2 will do multiple scoops of the surface itself before returning to Earth with the precious material in 2020.


The Arctic Sky Has Turned Red!

China Plans to Launch an 'Artificial Moon' to Light Up the Night Skies

Metal object that fell from sky in Hanford identified

Hurricane Michael evacuee spots trapped uncle's H-E-L-P message on NOAA satellite map

Red Alert in France, Massive Flash Floods leave at least 6 dead, schools closed, and roads washed out!

Very bright meteor illuminates night sky over Hokkaido, Japan

Ex-Hurricane Michael Expected to Hit NW Spain Tomorrow Morning,

Patriot Prayer Rally in Portland Turns Bloody; American Flag Saved From Flames

Snow blanketing Colorado while rain moves into central Texas