The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) is the first U.S. spacecraft to collect a sample from an asteroid. OSIRIS-REx traveled to near-Earth asteroid Bennu and is bringing a small sample to Earth for study.
This sample will be from the earliest days of the Solar System, unaffected by the weathering and geological processes we see here on Earth. It’s hoped this will give researchers a deeper insight into how our Solar System was formed and developed over billions of years.
OSIRIS-REx was launched on September 8th, 2016, aboard an Atlas V 411 heavy lift rocket. It reached the Asteroid Bennu in 2018, collected a sample from its surface in Oct 2020.
You can read more about the OSIRIS-REx in detail at the mission’s NASA website.
The Geminid meteor shower is an annual meteor shower that occurs in mid-December. It is called the Geminid meteor shower because the meteors appear to radiate from the constellation Gemini in the night sky. The Geminid meteor shower is usually one of the best meteor showers of the year, with up to 120 meteors visible per hour at its peak. The Geminids are caused by debris from an asteroid called 3200 Phaethon, which orbits the Sun once every 1.4 years.
The meteors are visible from around December 4th to 17th each year, with the peak of the shower occurring on the night of December 13th and the early morning of December 14th. To see the Geminids, you should go to a location with a clear, dark sky and look up towards the constellation Gemini. The best time to view the meteor shower is from around 10:00 p.m. to dawn.
Ok so this might be a little premature 10 years out from the event, but hey – why not get the hype machine rolling early right? There’s a lot of time to prepare and practice or at the very least, scratch a few days off your future calendar to come join us and the rest of Sydney for a total solar eclipse with a “greatest duration” of totality that passes right over the Bintel store in Glebe! Almost 4 glorious minutes of darkness await during totality. To check the map for your predicted time and proximity to totality check NASA’s website here.