NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to be launched on September 8


OSIRIS-REx will arrive at asteroid Bennu in 2018 and begin an extensive mapping campaign that will culminate in the selection of a site to sample. Bennu is thought to have formed soon after the sun, at around the same time as the solar system’s planets. To complete its planned science objectives, OSIRIS-REx needs to collect a least a 2-ounce (60 grams) sample from Bennu. Scientists researching OSIRIS-Rex’s sample will keep a keen eye out for organic-rich material, which asteroids are expected to host in varying degrees. “This will be the largest sample-return mission since the Apollo era,” said Christine Richey, OSIRIS-REx deputy program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.  Three-fourths of the sample will be archived for later study, allowing scientists to answer questions that haven’t been thought of today, using instruments yet to be imagined.


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