NASA Spacecraft Will Search For Trojan Asteroids Hidden Near Earth

Posted: Dec 20 2016, 4:22am CST | by , in Latest Science News


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NASA Spacecraft Will Search for Trojan Asteroids Hidden Near Earth
When OSIRIS-REx passes near Earth’s L-4 point in February, on its way to asteroid Bennu, it’ll turn on its cameras to search for Trojan asteroids. Illustration via OSIRIS-REx/UA

A New NASA Spacecraft OSIRIS-REx will hunt for Trojan Asteroids hiding near Earth's orbit

It is expected that Trojan asteroid will leap up in February 2017 when OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft will search Trojan asteroid. NASA mission team at UA, university of Arizona says that asteroids will reach near earth between 9 to 20 February.The spacecraft will use its camera suit to search Earth-Trojan asteroids.

When an object is caught in L-4 it becomes closer to earth or the sun. The mission planner will take advantage of Trojans closeness near earth. The observation says that if there are Trojan asteroids near earth they will also be at L4, and L5. Most objects are found in such areas, including small moons, asteroids, and dust etc.

Trojans for the first time were discovered in Jupiter’s orbit. Trojan asteroids are present in six planets in the solar system, like more than 6000 Trojans are present in Jupiter. One Trojan is present on Venus, one on Earth, seven on Mars, one on Uranus and 18 on Neptune. The team will soon detect more Trojans. Earth’s Trojan was found in 2010 by NEOWISE, according to EarthSky.

The team suspects more Trojans on earth and that’s the reason of mission OSIRIS-REx. For first 12 days OSIRIS-REx will scan the area on space that has Earth’s Trojans. UA’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory has developed OCAMS a camera that will scan the space for Trojans, said Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-RExwho is principal investigator and professor of planetary science at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at University of Arizona.

The team has planned an advance operation at Bennu that would help the spacecraft to deal with Trojan asteroids. Right now The OSIRIS-REx is on a mission to rendezvous to bring study samples of Bennu to Earth. This mission will continue for seven years. Searching Trojan will not be the main objective of this mission; however it’s an add-on that would help NASA scientists make new discoveries.

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