Rockstar Astrophysicist Brian May Helps NASA Bring Back Asteroid Sample
Rockstar’s Role in Space Exploration
Renowned Queen guitarist and accomplished astrophysicist Brian May has once again blended music and science in an extraordinary way. He played a significant role in NASA’s recent feat of bringing back a sample from the potentially hazardous Bennu asteroid. This achievement marks a significant milestone in the history of space exploration.
May’s collaboration with NASA is not new. He has previously worked on other landmark projects, such as the New Horizons Pluto mission in 2019. May’s participation in the team that gathered the sample from the Bennu asteroid demonstrates his versatility and dedication to both his musical and scientific pursuits.
The OSIRIS-REx Mission
The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft was launched back in 2016 with the primary goal of collecting samples from Bennu, a near-Earth asteroid estimated to be 4.5 billion years old. Seven years later, the spacecraft returned to Earth, specifically to Utah, marking the successful completion of its mission.
May was instrumental in this mission, utilizing the data from the spacecraft to produce stereoscopic images that were key to the success of the mission. These images, which provide a three-dimensional effect to a flat picture, assisted the team and mission leader Dante Lauretta in selecting a secure location to land and gather the sample.
Continuing the Mission
While May could not be physically present with the team due to his rehearsal schedule for a Queen tour, he expressed his solidarity and congratulated the team on the successful return of the sample.
However, the OSIRIS-REx mission is not over. The spacecraft is already on its way to another asteroid named Apophis. This new phase of the mission has been dubbed OSIRIS-APEX, an acronym for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-APophis EXplorer.
Significance of the Mission
This mission’s significance cannot be overstated. It marks the first time that NASA has successfully returned an asteroid sample to Earth. The sample from Bennu will provide invaluable insights into the origins of our universe and the nature of near-Earth objects, potentially enhancing our understanding of the cosmos and our place within it.
Moreover, the involvement of personalities like Brian May in such missions underscores the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration in scientific advancements. It is a testament to how science and art can come together to achieve remarkable accomplishments.
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