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Watch as NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission attempts to grab a sample from an asteroid

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This afternoon, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will grab a small sample of rocks from the surface of an asteroid named Bennu zooming through space more than 200 million miles from Earth. It’s an ambitious task, but if it works, OSIRIS-REx may eventually return to Earth with the largest sample of material from another space body since NASA’s Apollo missions to the Moon.

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has been circling Bennu for the last two years, mapping its surface and hunting for the right spot to snag these rocks. After an intense amount of planning from the mission team, the engineers have a target all picked out on Bennu and are ready to send their spacecraft down to the surface. OSIRIS-REx will lightly touch the surface of Bennu with an extended robotic arm, which will then blast air onto the rocks and stir things up. The blast should send pebbles and dust up into the arm. The rubble will then be stored inside the spacecraft for the long journey home.

The OSIRIS-REx team has already uploaded the commands to their spacecraft to pull off the maneuver this afternoon at 6:12PM ET. Everything must be on autopilot for this sample grab, since OSIRIS-REx and Bennu are so far from Earth. Radio signals take more than 18 minutes to reach the spacecraft, so if anything were to go wrong during the procedure, ground controllers wouldn’t be able correct the problem quickly. But OSIRIS-REx has practiced for this moment, doing two dress rehearsals that entailed descending down to the surface of Bennu without actually touching it. Today, the vehicle will hopefully make contact.

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Things get underway at 1:45PM ET, when OSIRIS-REx stops orbiting Bennu and begins its slow descent to the asteroid’s surface. “This is much more of a four and a half hours of mild anxiousness,” Beth Buck, the mission operations program manager for OSIRIS-REx at Lockheed Martin, said during a press conference. The spacecraft should only make contact with Bennu for a mere five seconds, but it should be enough time to trap a sizable amount of material inside the vehicle’s arm. It’s going to be a while before we can confirm if OSIRIS-REx succeeded, though. The mission team hopes to get data back tonight that will verify whether the spacecraft touched the asteroid, but they won’t know until tomorrow if the vehicle actually retrieved a sample. The first images of the sampling will start to come in on Wednesday, and that should confirm if OSIRIS-REx grabbed anything.

Though we won’t be able to see the sample live, NASA is providing live coverage of the sample grab starting at 5PM ET, from inside Lockheed Martin’s control center. Additionally, you can track the progress of OSIRIS-REx on the mission’s website starting at around 1:20PM ET.

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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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Apple will replace AirPods Pro for free with faulty noise cancellation, static or crackling

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Today, exactly one year after Apple first launched the AirPods Pro — and thus the same day the very first AirPods Pro owners will see their one-year warranties expire — Apple has launched a repair program that offers free repairs or replacements for another whole year if your AirPods Pro experience issues with noise cancellation or static.

Specifically, Apple will fix:

Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone

Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise

Apple says only a “small percentage of AirPods Pro” are affected by the issues, but it apparently wasn’t just an early batch — Apple says affected units were manufactured “before October 2020,” meaning every AirPods Pro ever made might be eligible. That’s quite a recall if so. Apple says it will repair faulty AirPods Pro for two years after you first buy them.

We’ve heard complaints about degraded noise cancellation before, and at least one Verge editor has replaced their AirPods Pro under warranty. It’s nice to hear that Apple isn’t just cutting buyers off as soon as that warranty expires.

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This 55″ 4K TCL Smart TV Hangs on Your Wall for $200

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

TCL 55″ S434 4K Smart TV | $200 | Best Buy

Best Buy has an insane deal going for a brand new 55″ 4K TCL smart TV. It’s the S434, which is pretty baseline for TCL’s lineup, but at just $200, there’s little to complain about. TCL’s panels are plenty sharp and accurate, and with this set, you’ll get HDR10 compliance for enhanced color and brightness in supported games and video content. This model has Android TV onboard for all your app needs, and with an included voice remote, all your favorite content is just a shout away with the help of Google Assistant.

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