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Guests: John Batchelor, Dr. Scott Sandford, Dr. David Livingston. Topics: Osiris REx, asteroid sample return mission. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. We do not permit the commercial use of any Space Show program or part thereof, nor do we permit Space Show programs to be edited, placed on YouTube, or other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted in news articles, papers, academic & research work but must be cited or referenced in the proper citation format. Contact Dr. Livingston for questions about our copyright and trademark policies which we do enforce. This program is archived on The Space Show website, podcasting, and blog sites with permission from John Batchelor. Please visit the John Batchelor Show website for more information about this fine program, www.johnbatchelorshow.com. Remember, your Amazon Purchases Can Help Support The Space Show/OGLF (www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm. Please note that audio and transition issues are a result of copying the John Batchelor broadcast & are not within my control as they originate in the Batchelor studio.
John Batchelor and I welcomed Dr. Scott Sandford to a double Hotel Mars segment to discuss the upcoming Osiris REx mission which launches for the NEO Bennu on Sept. 8, 2016 from the Cape. Bennu is a close-by asteroid with a possibility of hitting Earth (depending on its orbit) sometime in the future. Dr. Sandford talked about why Bennu was selected, the collision with Earth risk, and the search for organics that may lead us to important information about the origins of life and the solar system. He said Bennu was about 1/2 kilometer in diameter plus he mentioned the Yarkovsky effect regarding the Bennu orbit.
Dr. Sandford described the sample return part of the mission. There is no actual landing on Bennu. Instead, the satellite comes very close to the surface, extends a long arm, uses nitrogen gas to blow up surface particles and some of those particles are trapped by the arm for the sample return. The satellite can make three such passes of the surface of Bennu in order to get a sample. Our guest also explained the instrument package on board the satellite, their purpose, and how they help to select the site to be sampled. As you will hear, there are multiple cameras and numerous types of spectrometers on board the spacecraft.
With the sample, the entire spacecraft starts back on an Earth return trajectory. When the sample is ejected to parachute down in Utah, the satellite is diverted back into space and may be repurposed for a flyby mission yet to be determined. Planetary protection issues were discussed for the sample being returned to Earth plus our guest stressed several times that in their search for organics they were hoping to find clues to the origin of the solar system and life.
You can email Mr. Batchelor or Dr. Sandford through me at email@example.com. Dr. Sandford can also be reached through JPL.