See history in the making on September 22! That’s the day OSIRIS-REx, the first U.S. mission to carry samples from an asteroid back to Earth, will make a close approach to Earth as it uses our planet’s gravity to slingshot itself toward the asteroid Bennu.
Over the course of several days, observatories and amateur astronomers will be able to spot the spacecraft. Below, 10 things to know about this incredible mission that will bring us the largest sample returned from space since the Apollo era.
1. Big Deal
OSIRIS-REx seeks answers to the questions that are central to the human experience: Where did we come from? What is our destiny? Asteroids, the leftover debris from the solar system formation process, can help us answer these questions and teach us about the history of the Sun and planets.
2. That’s a Long Acronym
Yup. OSIRIS-REx stands for the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer spacecraft. The gist: It will rendezvous with, study, and return a sample of the asteroid Bennu to Earth.
3. Lots of Instruments, Too
While all the acronyms for each instrument may be alphabet soup, each has a job/role to perform in order to complete the mission. Explore what each one will do in this interactive webpage.
4. Nice to Meet You, Bennu
Scientists chose Bennu as the mission target because of its composition, size, and proximity to Earth. Bennu is a rare B-type asteroid (primitive and carbon-rich), which is expected to have organic compounds and water-bearing minerals like clays.
5. Hard Knock Life
Bennu had a tough life in a rough neighborhood: the early solar system. It’s an asteroid the size of a small mountain born from the rubble of a violent collision, hurled through space for millions of years and dismembered by the gravity of planets—but that’s exactly what makes it a fascinating destination.
6. High Fives All Around
In 2018, OSIRIS-REx will approach Bennu and begin an intricate dance with the asteroid, mapping and studying Bennu in preparation for sample collection. In July 2020, the spacecraft will perform a daring maneuver in which its 11-foot arm will reach out for a five-second “high-five” to stir up surface material, collecting at least 2 ounces (60 grams) of small rocks and dust into a sample return capsule.
7. Home Sweet Home
OSIRIS-REx launched on September 8, 2016 from Cape Canaveral, Florida on an Atlas V rocket. In March 2021, the window for departure from the asteroid will open and OSIRIS-REx will begin its return journey to Earth, arriving two-and-a-half years later in September 2023.
8. Precious Cargo
The sample will head to Earth inside of a return capsule with a heat shield and parachutes that will separate from the spacecraft once it enters the Earth’s atmosphere. The capsule containing the sample will be collected at the Utah Test and Training Range. Once it arrives, it will be transported to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston for examination. For two years after the sample return (from late 2023-2025) the science team will catalog the sample and conduct the analysis needed to meet the mission science goals. NASA will preserve at least 75% of the sample at NASA’s Johnson Space Flight Center in Houston for further research by scientists worldwide, including future generations of scientists.
9. Knowledge Is Power
Analyzing the sample will help scientists understand the early solar system, as well as the hazards and resources of near-Earth space. Asteroids are remnants of the building blocks that formed the planets and enabled life. Those like Bennu contain natural resources such as water, organics and metals. Future space exploration and economic development may rely on asteroids for these materials.
Our Asteroid-Bound Mission is Set to Slingshot Around Earth
NASA’s first spacecraft to travel to an asteroid will get a boost from Earth tomorrow, Sept. 22.
Earth’s gravity is going to slingshot OSIRIS-REx toward its target, an asteroid named Bennu.
Asteroids are relatively small, inactive, rocky bodies that orbit around the Sun. Scientists think asteroids like Bennu may have collided with Earth a long time ago, seeding our planet with the organic compounds that made life possible. That means that there’s a good chance Bennu contains answers to fundamental questions about the origins of life and how our solar system came to be. We sent OSIRIS-REx on a journey to investigate.
One of the best ways to change the trajectory of a spacecraft is by using the gravity of a planet or large moon to catapult it. It sounds like science fiction, but this type of maneuver, called a gravity assist, is a fuel-efficient way of traveling through space.
We’re not using the slingshot to speed the spacecraft, we’re doing it to change its direction. That’s because the asteroid’s orbit is tilted six degrees in comparison to Earth’s orbit. When OSIRIS-REx swings by, Earth’s gravity will lift it up and sling it toward Bennu.
Spot the spacecraft
Because at its closest approach OSIRIS-REx will only be 11,000 miles above Earth, you can see it with a backyard telescope. For most observers, the spacecraft will appear between the constellations Cetus and Pisces, but its exact position in the sky will vary by location.
After its closest approach, OSIRIS-REx flip around and look back at Earth, so here’s your chance to say hello! Take a picture of yourself or your group waving to OSIRIS-REx. Then share your photo using the hashtag #HelloOSIRISREx and tag the mission account on Twitter @OSIRISREx or Instagram @OSIRIS_REx.
To Bennu and back
In about a year from now, OSIRIS-REx will arrive at asteroid Bennu.
After it surveys and maps Bennu, OSIRIS-REx will “high-five” the asteroid with its robotic arm to collect a sample, which it will send to Earth. This asteroid sample will be the largest amount of space material transported to Earth since we brought back rocks from the Moon. High-fives all around!
If everything goes according to plan, on Sept. 24, 2023, the capsule containing the asteroid sample will make a soft landing in the Utah desert. That’s the end of the spacecraft’s seven-year-long journey to Bennu and back.
But the mission doesn’t stop there. On Earth, the sample material collected by OSIRIS-REx will be analyzed to determine the asteroid’s chemical composition. Scientists will look for organic compounds like amino acids and sugars — the building blocks for life.
Bennu is approximately 4.5 billion years old. Our solar system is 4.6 billion years old. That means that Bennu is made up of some of the oldest stuff in our solar system. So samples from Bennu could tell us more about how our solar system evolved and possibly even how life began on Earth! Learn more about asteroid Bennu, the OSIRIS-REx mission and the Earth gravity assist.
they start as little anglerfish babies until they’re thirty and their skin sloughs off and their teeth fall out and once they’re done molting they can walk on land with small bodies and long tails and long ears and teeth still sharp but not quite so drastic until tailfall when they’re seventy and they finally start looking like humans - shorter ears and squarer teeth but eyes still black and unsettling - and those are their wandering years, the century they can travel among men until they start to grow horns and have to go back into hiding in the secret cities of elves.
they age like lobsters, getting bigger all the time, getting slower, until they’re so big and so slow that plants grow on them and they barely move at all. they reproduce by stealing away genetic material to keep in storage in weird organs near their throats and when an elf gets in a fight and licks the blood from their knife it means something very different and when an elf is aroused they can’t eat and pretend it’s because they don’t like the food. then when an elf gets big enough all the material they’ve collected over their lifetime goes into outgrowths that burst from their skin as horrifying little merfolk.
a human finds elfspawn and the elves say “yeah that’s a weird mermaid” and the humans find a hissing little tailed elf and the elves say “that’s a gnome” and the humans find someone breaking into rooms to drink the blood of pretty women and the elves say “that’s actually just a weird dead human” and the humans find a huge horned elf and the elves say “that’s an orc” and the humans find an even bigger one and the elves say “probably a troll” and the humans find an elf so big they’re covered in plantlife and the elves say “that’s an ent” because humans breed so quickly and there are so many of them and they kill so much and they have such strange rules about when it’s okay to kill people and there are so few elves by comparison that they have all agreed en masse that humans must believe that elves are just like humans so that they can be friends.
elves aren’t allowed to be wild and feral and any elf who breaks the rules is considered fair game whether they knew the rules or not, because they put every other elf in danger. elven cities are massive with great big towers but each tower holds just one huge elf and no human is ever allowed to enter and discover that the population is under one hundred instead of the thousands they assume. elves don’t laugh because the laugh is the hardest part of the accent to get rid of, laughing like dolphins long after they’ve managed to stop singing like whales. elves don’t touch, because humans have rules about how siblings are allowed to touch but the way elves breed makes it hard for them to understand what kinds of touching are acceptable in what contexts and it’s easier and safer to just never do it than risk letting humans think elves are breaking their taboos. elves put on airs, because if they do it just right then humans will defer to them in the same way they do their own upper classes and they won’t ask too many questions or look too closely. elves have undertones of blue or of green but if they don’t look enough like what an elf is supposed to be they’re called half-elves because it’s easier than explaining the truth.
they trade in magical reagants that grow on their elders and wear sleeves over the tips of their ears and collect momentos of their travels like charm beads and never teach their language to outsiders so outsiders never know when they’re talking shit. they’re foul-mouthed and violent and like to eat crickets and sometimes they start wars because the alternative is explaining to their human allies that actually their city was destroyed because grandpa decided to try to go for a walk and they had to eat him, and it’s always easier to blame other different humans that the friendly humans already hate.
Put down the purchased spellbook, stop hoarding candles, resist the urge to pilfer the family spice rack for ingredients you think you need, don’t feel bad because you can’t afford the beautiful wand your friend has and you think your magick won’t be as powerful, please for the love of goddess don’t insist to everyone that your spirit animal is a wolf, lion, hawk, or bear just because you think they’re cute/powerful. Just stop. Breathe. Relax.
Go outside and look around you. Take long walks through your neighborhood every single day no matter what the weather. Linger in the places you feel drawn to, whether that is an abandoned lot with glass on the ground or a pristine mountain waterfall. Listen to how your body feels in different environments. Pay attention to the places that lend you strength. Pay attention to the sad places that are in need of healing or sympathy. Get to know your local environment intimately. Dream about these places. Write all your feelings down.
Study the minerals, plants and animals around you. Collect local crystals if you can. Find a place where you can mine for them yourself. Identify local trees and herbs. Find plants that call out to you. Listen to them. Spend time with them. Learn from them. If something is out of balance you will be able to recognize it. Notice what animals live near you, which creatures you are actually going to be around every day. Watch a single spot outdoors in all seasons, all times of day, to learn the secrets of the animals there. Then you’ll know which ones you really identify with. Pay attention to your dreams at this time and you may be contacted by other familiars and Gods/Goddesses who will lend their energy and wisdom to your work.
Read your witchcraft books to learn from others in the craft, but also read books on natural history, geology, field guides, local naturalists, Ed Abbey, Thoreau, Emerson, Rachel Carson and Darwin. Read and study local legends and find out who used to live where you do. Research local First People beliefs. Learn to read the land itself.
Craft your ritual tools with your own hands, from materials you collect yourself.
Leave magickal offerings but also do practical things for the other species around you. Pick up trash on your street, clean up a local stream, donate money and time to the causes you believe in. Volunteer locally and in exotic places that you wish to experience and learn about. Clean up that abandoned lot and start a community garden. Back up your spirituality with sweat and hard work.
Do all this and more and you will become wise no matter what your path is or where it takes you.
Sun in the 2nd house: the native understands themselves based on their belongings. They find themselves through obtaining & define themselves by what they own. They focus on quality of life; it contributes to self-esteem.
Moon in the 2nd house: the native is comforted by their belongings. Their emotional security depends on financial security & security of status. Their mood is dictated by their self-value. They easily form sentimental attachments.
Mercury in the 2nd house: the native learns best through sensory experience & material collection of information. Their intellect is driven by owning knowledge. Their belongings/status influence their communication.
Venus in the 2nd house: the native greatly values beauty & their self-esteem is dictated by superficiality. They share what they own because they know more can be gained in unity. Overestimate the value / quality of things.
Mars in the 2nd house: the native is driven toward material gain & it energizes them. They are impulsive & obtain on whims or instinct. They may become wasteful because they don’t stop to appreciate or be grateful.
Jupiter in the 2nd house: the native can become gluttonous, wasteful, or frivolous. They are very generous & innately understand the worth of things, though they can exaggerate it. Typically “run out” because they expect not to.
Saturn in the 2nd house: the native is extremely conservative & will refuse to obtain unless it is necessary to do so. They may always feel like they never have enough so they acquire slowly & rarely expend it. Often become wealthy.
Uranus in the 2nd house: the native has no concept of what the “right amount” is & fluctuates wildly. Innovation is expressed when quality is sparse or plentiful. They place too much value on uniqueness or rarity.
Neptune in the 2nd house: the native is oblivious to what they actually own. They expend their belongings/finances without full awareness. They do not (or cannot) draw a clear distinction between what is valuable and what is not.
Pluto in the 2nd house: the native is extremely possessive & private about their belongings. Most people do not know how wealthy or penniless they are because they don’t reveal it. Their belongings may change who they are.
Part of this chaotic phase is the simple result of the shift from one dimension of consciousness to another. As Earth and humanity move from 4th dimensional consciousness to 5th dimensional consciousness — which is outside the constraints of time and space as you collectively perceive them — there is a tension between the old world and the new world. You are right in the midst of this.
As more and more people experience paradigm shifts driven by sudden leaps in spiritual understanding, the old world is undermined. The new world with its new cultural, political and economic presuppositions has not yet blossomed, so you are in a kind of no-person’s land where the old views no longer work, but the new views have not yet come into usable expression. So this is one reason for the difficulties you are experiencing in this dimensional shift.
But there is another more insidious element at play here as well. There are vested interests that wish the old world of domination and control to continue, and they are using every means at their disposal to insure it.
The type of control we speak of is so pervasive and so much a part of the fabric of your society that it is often overlooked — which is exactly what those who wish to control you work toward. There is no one person or group of persons responsible for this type of control. It comes from many directions and sources. It comes from sources you might never suspect including religious, political and economic institutions. But the attempts to control you do not end here. Many of the manipulative elements in your world are also coming from interdimensional and intergalactic interference.
But regardless of their source, the days, so to speak, for those who are trying to control your destiny for their own selfish ends are numbered. The shift from 4th dimensional consciousness to 5th dimensional consciousness cannot be stopped any more than the dawn of a new day can be avoided. The evolution of consciousness on your Earth and of Earth, herself, is in the midst of a dynamic shift and you are a vital part of it.
Identity has become the axis of so much university activism because, for all the radical posturing associated with it, identity politics does not threaten the established order of society. It promotes a moralistic and self-indulgent anti-politics, where a person’s use of language and the purity of their thinking matters more than confronting collectively the material conditions and social relations under which they are forced to live. It creates a simulation of political struggle - one that doesn’t merely fail to challenge the material inequality and unfreedom of late capitalism, but fundamentally aligns with the dynamics and interests of its atomised, spectacle-driven society. It is a perfect mirror of consumerism, playing-upon the individual’s desires for real freedom, only to perpetuate and prettify the conditions of their alienation.
So a while ago I fulfilled myself a little dream of mine and bought the limited edition of Funimation’s SnK bluray (rip wallet)…and yesterday it finally arrived! It’s a really cool thing and a lot of the content inside the “notes from beyond the wall” booklet rarely ever appears on tumblr, so I’ll definitely try to scan and share them with you in the near future^-^ this marks my third season 1 bluray collection I think I need help