2023 Asteroid Mission Highlights: Host OSIRIS-REx and Psyche-dedicated Events!

2023 Asteroid Mission Highlights: Host OSIRIS-REx and Psyche-dedicated Events!

2023 Asteroid Mission Highlights: Host OSIRIS-REx and Psyche-dedicated Events! https://asteroidday-uploads.s3.eu-central-1.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/12193541/OSIRIS-REx-and-Psyche-launch-1.jpeg 512 289 Asteroid Day Asteroid Day https://asteroidday-uploads.s3.eu-central-1.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/12193541/OSIRIS-REx-and-Psyche-launch-1.jpeg

We are on the brink of witnessing two groundbreaking chapters in the saga of asteroid exploration: the return of the capsule bearing the samples of the asteroid Bennu, collected in 2020 by the OSIRIS-REx probe, and the highly anticipated launch of the Psyche mission with the main objective of exploring this metallic asteroid. Both of these remarkable events are scheduled within a mere few days of each other.

If all goes according to plan, the capsule with samples from the asteroid will separate from the probe and enter Earth’s atmosphere at 10:41 am EDT (14:41 GMT/UTC) on September 24th. Upon entry, the capsule is expected to parachute down and land softly at 10:54 am EDT (14:54 GMT/UTC) in the Utah desert, USA. Last August, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission team conducted the final training in the desert, using a capsule replica that will return to Earth. Check out the trailer made by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and follow this real-time simulation of the probe’s approach to our planet.

The Psyche mission is scheduled to launch on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from the Kennedy Space Center at 10:38 am EDT (14:38 GMT/UTC) on October 5th. In case of unforeseen events or bad weather, the launch window will be extended until October 25th. It will be the first interplanetary launch using a Falcon Heavy. This is the mission launch trailer: and the real-time asteroid position.

These are great opportunities to get your audience excited and follow live asteroid exploration as well as witness the history being written. Check the up-to-date broadcast information by visiting this webpage and remember to confirm times according to your local time zone using this converter.

Consider bringing your community at a school, museum, auditorium or a pub to enjoy a watch party along with these suggested activities:

Workshops and Exhibitions – This article contains a chronological list of asteroid exploration missions and paper models available to assemble, and is a good resource for young audiences. You could set up an exhibition with these models highlighting, for example, the Japanese Hayabusa missions that collected asteroid samples and the DAWN mission whose main objective was to explore two of the best-known asteroids. Make the exhibits more realistic by using 3D-printable models of the Bennu, Psyche and other asteroids available in the catalogue prepared by Greg Frieger.

Moments of the workshop with low-cost material on the Psyche mission organized on Asteroid Day 2023 by Astrofanaticos and Cubo Universo Creativo, El Retiro, Colombia.

Lectures, conferences and discussions – Introduce your audience to the different asteroid types. Here are some topics for your audience’s discussions and interactions with scientists and experts:
Will the material collected by OSIRIS-REx confirm discoveries made around analysing samples from previous missions like

  • Hayabusa, or will it reveal something new?
  • What could the probe find on the Psyche asteroid?
  • Is this asteroid dense or porous?
  • Is it totally metallic or mixed with other types of rocks?
  • Is Psyche a core remnant or just a pile of rubble?
  • How much more will we understand about the origin of the solar system by studying these asteroids?

Short story contest – The metals found in asteroids like Psyche could boost space mining activities. Suggest your audience to unleash their creativity and make up stories about mining and space exploration using resources from asteroids. Imagining technologies that would benefit from asteroid resources on Earth is also a good idea.

Event organized on Asteroid Day 2023 by the Regional Science Center in Bhopal, India, with students participating in asteroid storytelling and drawing contests.

Make the most of these historic milestones of asteroid exploration! Don’t forget to register your event and report it.