Washington (dpa). After Bennu, the Nasa probe “Osiris-Rex” is also supposed to explore the asteroid Apophis.
The mission of the probe, which is currently on its way back to Earth with a sample from Bennu, will be extended by at least nine years, the US space agency Nasa said. The mission, then called “Osiris-Apex”, should be guided into orbit around Apophis after the previous plan has been completed. According to calculations, the asteroid with a diameter of around 370 meters will fly by at a distance of around 32,000 kilometers from Earth in 2029 and could thus be studied up close for the first time.
“Osiris-Rex” was the first US missile in space history to take a sample from an asteroid in 2020. Bennu’s sample is scheduled to deliver the probe to Earth in September 2023. “Osiris Rex” (the abbreviation stands for: Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer) was launched in September 2016 from the Cape Canaveral spaceport and arrived at Bennu around two years later.
In addition to “Osiris-Rex”, NASA also extended the missions of six other missions: the Mars missions “Mars Odyssey”, “Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter”, “Maven”, “Curiosity” and “InSight”, the moon probe ” Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter” and the “New Horizons” mission originally sent to Pluto.
© dpa-infocom, dpa:220427-99-56757/3