Bill Shepherd, a former Navy SEAL-turned astronaut who arrived at the International Space Station 20 years ago Monday to begin the continuous occupancy of the orbiting research outpost, says the experience gained by NASA and its global partners over the last two decades provides a blueprint for missions to the moon, Mars, and beyond.
The sampling mechanism on NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is stuffed with specimens captured from asteroid Bennu earlier this week — so full that some of the rocks are floating out into space. Officials said Friday they will stow the samples inside the mission’s Earth return capsule sooner than planned to minimize the loss of asteroid material.
Mars rovers go through seven minutes of terror when they plunge into the Martian atmosphere at hypersonic speed. NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will take a more glacial approach to its asteroid target Tuesday, and the event will be more akin to four-and-a-half hours of mild anxiety for ground teams, according to the mission’s operations manager.