NASA OSIRIS-REx spacecraft begins the search for elusive Earth Trojans

NASA has begun its search for the elusive Earth Trojan Asteroids with its OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft which is speeding towards its goal, Bennu asteroid. The Trojan asteroids are stuck in stable gravity regions known Lagrange points, and it precedes or follows any planet. The OSIRIS-Rex is currently passing through the fourth Lagrange point. The point is situated 60 degrees in front in Earth’s orbit around the sun, about 90 million miles from our planet. NASA will use the opportunity to take pictures with the MapCam camera aboard the OSIRIS spacecraft and hope to identify Earth Trojan asteroids in the region.

The spacecraft on a two-year journey to the asteroid will spend two weeks in the search for these elusive and small bodies. Astronomers have discovered thousands of Trojans accompanying other planets one Earth-Trojan asteroid has been identified and it is known as asteroid 2010 TK7.

The Images will be clicked by the three cameras which have been built at the Lunar Planetary Laboratory affiliated with the University of Arizona, and it will serve as a guide for the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to Bennu.It is the first time any spacecraft will be entering the L4 point.

There could be some Earth Trojans waiting to be discovered. The fourth Lagrange point is a stable point, and it is possible that it might be hiding the remnants of the materials that created the Earth. According to the principal investigator Dante Lauretta of the University of Arizona, Tucson, it is an opportunity to examine the primeval building blocks of Earth.

Earth Trojans could one day become useful sources of rare elements like iridium which ‘s hard to mine on Earth since a significant portion has sunk into the core of the planet during its formation. Giant impact hypothesis proponents say that the Moon was formed by the ejected material; as a result collision of a Mars-sized Trojan named Theia and the Earth.

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