Asteroid news: NASA’s OSIRIS-REx starts countdown to ‘Touch and Go’ mission | Science | News

Eleven minutes afterwards, the spacecraft will perform the Matchpoint burn at an altitude of 177ft (54m), slowing its descent.

The spacecraft then descends to the surface and lands for less than sixteen seconds before firing one of its three pressurised nitrogen bottles.

This gas will then blast Bennu’s surface material, which is then caught in the spacecraft’s collector head.

Following this brief touch-down, the probe will again active its thrusters to move away from Bennu’s surface and navigates to a safe distance from the asteroid.

After the orbit departure manoeuvre, OSIRIS-REx prepares itself for obtaining a sample.

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