Credit: OSIRIS-REx mission
An exciting new planetary science mission slated for launch in 2016 is gearing up at the University of Arizona and elsewhere. OSIRIS-REx, which stands for Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer, is a NASA venture that will sample an asteroid and return it to Earth by 2023. This will be a truly groundbreaking venture in the history of planetary science.
The mission is a partnership between the University of Arizona, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and Lockheed Martin Space Systems.
The project managers have unveiled a new YouTube channel and produced a 321Science video titled “Asteroids: Fact vs. Fiction.” I encourage you to view it.
After traveling for two years, OSIRIS-REx will rendezvous with the asteroid 101955 Bennu — a carbonaceous asteroid that contains primitive material — and map the asteroid’s surface for 505 days. It will then approach the asteroid’s surface, extend a robotic arm, and collect the sample for return.
Check out the mission’s Youtube channel