NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission’s Touch-And-Go (TAG) sample collection event was a success, and it managed to capture some incredible footage along the way. The SamCam imager’s field of view shows the NASA spacecraft approaching and touching down on asteroid Bennu’s surface, over 200 million miles away from Earth. The researchers state that preliminary data confirms the one-foot-wide sampling head touched down on the asteroid’s surface for approximately 6-seconds, after which the spacecraft performed a back-away burn. Read more for two short videos and additional information.
Only the round head at the end of TAGSAM touched down, and not the entire OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. After making initial contact, the TAGSAM head appears to crush some of the porous rocks underneath it before the spacecraft fires a nitrogen gas bottle, which mobilizes the sample site’s material for collection. The spacecraft was traveling at around 0.2 mph when it contacted sample site Nightingale and then launched away at 0.9 mph.
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Upon initial contact, the TAGSAM head appears to crush some of the porous rocks underneath it. One second later, the spacecraft fires a nitrogen gas bottle, which mobilizes a substantial amount of the sample site’s material. Preliminary data show the spacecraft spent approximately 5 of the 6 seconds of contact collecting surface material, and the majority of sample collection occurred within the first 3 seconds,” said NASA.