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About The OSIRIS-APEX Mission

Context:

In an unprecedented extension of its celestial duties, the spacecraft that delivered asteroid samples from Bennu, OSIRIS-REx, has embarked on a new mission, and NASA has renamed it as OSIRIS-APEX.

Relevance:

GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. OSIRIS-APEX Mission: Exploring Changes in Asteroid Apophis
  2. Key Facts about Apophis

OSIRIS-APEX Mission: Exploring Changes in Asteroid Apophis

Mission Overview:
  • Purpose: Study the physical changes in asteroid Apophis during its close encounter with Earth in April 2029.
  • Close Approach: Apophis will come within 20,000 miles of Earth’s surface, closer than our highest-altitude satellites.
  • Mission Objectives: Observe changes induced by Earth’s gravitational pull, including alterations in orbit, rotation speed, and surface features.
OSIRIS-APEX Spacecraft:
  • Approach: The spacecraft will dip toward the surface of Apophis for close observations.

Key Facts about Apophis:

  • Discovery: Discovered on June 19, 2004.
  • Composition: Stony “S-type” asteroid with silicate material and a mix of metallic nickel and iron.
  • Origin: Remnant from the early solar system formation about 4.6 billion years ago.
  • Formation Location: Originated in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
  • Orbit Change: Influenced by large planets like Jupiter, Apophis now orbits the Sun closer to Earth.
  • Classification: Classified as a near-Earth asteroid due to its altered orbit.

-Source: Indian Today


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