NASA Osiris-Rex, or “Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security – Regolith Explorer,” took off in 2016 going after the asteroid Bennu to learn more about space rocks. However, a few days ago, NASA Osiris-Rex began its last maneuvers for immortalizing the asteroid and check its surroundings for any potential danger.
As we speak, the Osiris-Rex spacecraft is about 2 million kilometers away from asteroid Bennu where it is expected to reach its destination around December 3rd.
Once the spacecraft reaches in the vicinity of the space rock, it will map Bennu and explore the asteroid from above, and, eventually, it will land on the surface of the gigantic rock for only five seconds to take a sample. NASA Osiris-Rex mission would be the first one in the history that would take an extra-planetary sample.
NASA Osiris-Rex mission to asteroid Bennu might reveal more information on the early history of the solar system
Sampling asteroid Bennu is of great significance for scientists as this space rock might collide with the Earth somewhen in the 22nd century. Thus, the astronomers hope to learn more about Bennu’s composition and find a way to stop it, in case it would come on an impact trajectory with our planet.
NASA Osiris-Rex would return the sample to Earth in 2023, which hopefully would also reveal some new and useful information about the origin of life on Earth, the early history of the solar system, and asteroid mining.
NASA’s officials plan to keep us updated with every news regarding the Osiris-Rex mission on the asteroid Bennu. In this regard, the US space agency will hold a press conference this Friday, August 24th, at 11 AM PST. NASA also hopes to have the first images of asteroid Bennu taken by the spacecraft and, if that’s the case, they will release the pics online.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.