NASA is going to launch the OSIRIS-Rex to the Bennu asteroid on Thurday at 7:05 Pm from Cape Canaveral Air Force station. The OSIRIS-REX launch is a $800 million operation, on which scientist have spent seven years working.
This operation has the objective of bringing back carbon-rich material from the Bennu astroid.
The OSIRIS-Rex mission is set to provide information about the solar system.
Dante Lauretta, the principal investigator on this mission says that the primary objective is to bring 60 grams of carbon-rich material from the asteroid Bennu.
We expect these samples will contain organic molecules from the early solar system that may give us information and clues to the origin of life.
The Bennu asteroid has the dimension of a small mountain, about 1,600 feet, and its 1,2 year orbit around the sun makes it get as close to the Earth as the Moon.
We selected asteroid Bennu as the final target of OSIRIS-REx because it was so well characterized, with the radar data and telescopic data, that we felt that really reduced risk to the mission profile, Dante Lauretta, principal investigator for the mission.
Even though it is so close to the Earth is has a very small probability of colliding with it.
Using the Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) , the OSIRIS-Rex will collect rocks and dust, when it will land on Bennu in 2020. The OSIRIS-Rex will stay on the asteroid only for a few seconds . It is scheduled to come back in 2023 with the samples. The weather is an important element in this equation and, in this case, it is in NASA’s favor because it give them a 80% chance of favorable condition for the mission launch.
OSIRIS-Rex launch is not the only one:
In December 2014 the Hayabusa 2 was sent to space by Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency and it should get to the asteroid in 2018, after Hayabusa brought back a few micrograms of material in 2010.
In November 2014, the European Space Agency put the Philae lander on a comet and transmitted 60 hours of data before it run out of power. This was a first in space discovery.
Unlike the others attempts, OSIRIS-REX promises to bring more information about the space.
The OSIRIS-Rex launch is an important step in discovering the mysteries of the solar system, don’t you think?
Image source: Wikipedia