NASA scientists discussed asteroids, how they relate to the origins of our solar system, and the search for life beyond Earth during this Sept. 7 event at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The event was held in conjunction with other pre-launch activities related to the Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security – Regolith Explorer, or OSIRIS-REx mission. OSIRIS-REx will be the first U.S. mission to sample an asteroid. The spacecraft is targeted to launch Sept. 8 at 7:05 p.m. EDT to the near-Earth asteroid Bennu, arriving in 2018, to survey the surface, retrieve at least 60 grams (2.1 ounces) of surface material, and return it to Earth in 2023 for study. Analysis of the sample will reveal the earliest stages of the solar system’s evolution and the history of Bennu over the past 4.5 billion years.
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