24/7 Space News
IRON AND ICE
NASA's OSIRIS-REx Team Clears Hurdle to Access Remaining Bennu Sample
NASA's OSIRIS-REx curation engineer, Neftali Hernandez, attaches one of the tools developed to help remove two final fasteners that prohibited complete disassembly of the TAGSAM (Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism) head that holds the remainder of material collected from asteroid Bennu. Engineers on the team, based at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, developed new tools that freed the fasteners on Jan. 10. Image credit: NASA/Robert Markowitz
ADVERTISEMENT
NASA's OSIRIS-REx Team Clears Hurdle to Access Remaining Bennu Sample
by Staff Writers for NASA Blogs
Houston TX (SPX) Jan 12, 2024

Curation team members at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston have successfully removed the two fasteners from the sampler head that had prevented the remainder of OSIRIS-REx's asteroid Bennu sample material from being accessed.

Steps now are underway to complete the disassembly of the Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism, or TAGSAM, head to reveal the rest of the rocks and dust delivered by NASA's first asteroid sample return mission.

"Our engineers and scientists have worked tirelessly behind the scenes for months to not only process the more than 70 grams of material we were able to access previously, but also design, develop, and test new tools that allowed us to move past this hurdle," said Eileen Stansbery, division chief for ARES (Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science) at Johnson. "The innovation and dedication of this team has been remarkable. We are all excited to see the remaining treasure OSIRIS-REx holds."

The remainder of the bulk sample will be fully visible after a few additional disassembly steps, at which point image specialists will take ultra-high-resolution pictures of the sample while it is still inside the TAGSAM head. This portion of the sample will then be removed and weighed, and the team will be able to determine the total mass of Bennu material captured by the mission.

Curation processors paused disassembly of the TAGSAM head hardware in mid-October after they discovered that two of the 35 fasteners could not be removed with the tools approved for use inside the OSIRIS-REx glovebox.

In response, two new multi-part tools were designed and fabricated to support further disassembly of the TAGSAM head. These tools include newly custom-fabricated bits made from a specific grade of surgical, non-magnetic stainless steel; the hardest metal approved for use in the pristine curation gloveboxes.

"In addition to the design challenge of being limited to curation-approved materials to protect the scientific value of the asteroid sample, these new tools also needed to function within the tightly-confined space of the glovebox, limiting their height, weight, and potential arc movement," said Dr. Nicole Lunning, OSIRIS-REx curator at Johnson. "The curation team showed impressive resilience and did incredible work to get these stubborn fasteners off the TAGSAM head so we can continue disassembly. We are overjoyed with the success."

Prior to the successful removal, the team at Johnson tested the new tools and removal procedures in a rehearsal lab. After each successful test, engineers increased the assembly torque values and repeated the testing procedures until the team was confident the new tools would be able to achieve the torque needed while minimizing the risk of any potential damage to the TAGSAM head or any contamination of the sample within.

Despite not being able to fully disassemble the TAGSAM head, the curation team members had already collected 2.48 ounces (70.3 grams) of asteroid material from the sample hardware, surpassing the agency's goal of bringing at least 60 grams to Earth. They have fulfilled all the sample requests received from the OSIRIS-REx science team so far and have hermetically sealed some of the Bennu sample for better preservation over long timescales (e.g., multiple decades), storing some at ambient temperature conditions and others at -112 Fahrenheit (-80 degrees Celsius).

Later this spring, the curation team will release a catalog of the OSIRIS-REx samples, which will be available to the global scientific community.

Related Links
OSIRIS-REx
Asteroid and Comet Mission News, Science and Technology

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

RELATED CONTENT
The following news reports may link to other Space Media Network websites.
IRON AND ICE
Organic compounds in asteroids formed in colder regions of space
Perth, Australia (SPX) 26, 2023
Analysis of organic compounds - called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) - extracted from the Ryugu asteroid and Murchison meteorite has found that certain PAHs likely formed in the cold areas of space between stars rather than in hot regions near stars as was previously thought. The findings open new possibilities for studying life beyond Earth and the chemistry of objects in space. The only Australian members of an international research team, scientists from Curtin's WA-Organic and Isotop ... read more

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
IRON AND ICE
Turkey's first astronaut brandishes Erdogan's ambitions

Ax-3: A Step Forward in Long-Duration Space Missions with Advanced Tech Experiments

Revolutionizing Space Habitats: Aurelia Institute's TESSERAE for Biotech Studies

Starliner parachute system upgrade tested before crewed flight

IRON AND ICE
SpaceX completes second launch Sunday, sends more satellites into orbit

China's Gravity 1 sets record for solid rocket fuels in maiden launch

Mexico Set for Space Sector Boost with New National Rocket and Space Center by Merida Aerospace

Rocket maker working on medium-lift model

IRON AND ICE
Water may have flowed through Martian Valleys countless times

Sols 4066-4070: Cracking Up

IDEFIX Rover Set to Embark on Pioneering Journey to Martian Moon Phobos

Potential solvents identified for building on Moon and Mars

IRON AND ICE
Tianxing 1B satellite launched by Kuaizhou 1A to conduct space environment survey

China Prepares to Launch Tianzhou 7 Cargo Ship to Tiangong Space Station

Tianzhou 6 cargo spacecraft to return to Earth

Tianzhou 7 mission set to enhance operations at China's Tiangong Space Station

IRON AND ICE
MEASAT Partners with SpaceX as Official Reseller for Starlink Services in Key Markets

Momentus secures $4M through direct stock offering to institutional investor

Sidus Space Partners with ASPINA for Satellite Technology Demonstration on LizzieSat Mission

Iridium announces Project Stardust for Global, Standards-Based IoT Connectivity

IRON AND ICE
Spire Global sets to revolutionize space traffic management with Northstar's SSA satellites

US, UK strikes targeted Huthi radar, missile capabilities: defense chief

D-Orbit Secures Record euro 100m in Series C Funding, Advancing Space Logistics and In-Orbit Services

Epic says Apple court fight is 'lost'

IRON AND ICE
Unlocking the secrets of a "hot Saturn" and its spotted star

Astronomers make rare exoplanet discovery

Old stars may be the best places to search for life, new study suggests

Study uncovers potential origins of life in ancient hot springs

IRON AND ICE
New images reveal what Neptune and Uranus really look like

Researchers reveal true colors of Neptune, Uranus

The PI's Perspective: The Long Game

Webb rings in the holidays with the ringed planet Uranus

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters


ADVERTISEMENT



The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2023 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.