SEP 09, 2016 12:25 PM PDT

NASA Launches its OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Intercept Mission

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

NASA has officially launched its Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission this week, and it’s on its way to go study an asteroid named Bennu.
 
"Tonight is a night for celebration. We are on our way to an asteroid," NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan said. "Every day at NASA we're turning science fiction into science fact, and that's what we did tonight."

OSIRIS-REx launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at 7:05 P.M. Eastern time. The launch reportedly went flawlessly, and unlike a recent SpaceX mishap, there were no unexpected explosions.
 


 
Bennu, the large asteroid that the probe is headed for, offers a potential threat for colliding with Earth between 2175 and 2199, and that’s why scientists are so interested in it. OSIRIS-REx will attempt to gather a sample from the asteroid and then try to bring it back to Earth for scientists to study.
 
It will take a while for OSIRIS-REx to get to Bennu. Scientists are anticipating the tango event that will occur sometime in August of 2018. Once there, it will probe the asteroid, taking photos and collecting information that will be wirelessly transmitted back to Earth.
 
Two years later, scheduled for July of 2020, OSIRIS-REx will extend its TAGSAM robotic arm to begin its most important mission, and that’s to disturb the surface enough to create airborne dust and debris that the probe can then snag a sample of.
 
It’s not completely clear how effective it will be, but NASA hopes to get anywhere from 2 ounces to 4.4 pounds of sample debris that the space agency can study.
 
Until then, however, it’s a long journey, and then it’s another journey back to Earth after the samples have been taken. OSIRIS-REx won’t return these samples to Earth until sometime in 2023.
 
With another milestone mission from NASA unfolding, it should be interesting to see what results we come up with.

You can watch the full launch of OSIRIS-REx in the YouTube video below:
 


Source: NASA (1), NASA (2)

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
OCT 09, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Why the Sun's Atmosphere is Hotter than its Surface
OCT 09, 2020
Why the Sun's Atmosphere is Hotter than its Surface
Researchers have found evidence of nanojets (bright, thin lights) in the solar atmosphere, also known as the corona. The ...
OCT 23, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Astronomers Merge AI and Photonics to Find New Earths
OCT 23, 2020
Astronomers Merge AI and Photonics to Find New Earths
Researchers from the University of Sydney have developed a new type of sensor capable of measuring and correcting starli ...
NOV 14, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
STEVE, what is it?
NOV 14, 2020
STEVE, what is it?
STEVE is in the sky! STEVE, as is Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement, the purple and green streaks that have b ...
JAN 27, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Astronomers Find Rocky Planet Created Just After the Big Bang
JAN 27, 2021
Astronomers Find Rocky Planet Created Just After the Big Bang
Researchers have discovered a ten billion-year-old planetary system. While two of its planets are gaseous, as would be e ...
MAR 06, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Earth's Hot Neighbor Is the Stuff of Astronomers' Dreams
MAR 06, 2021
Earth's Hot Neighbor Is the Stuff of Astronomers' Dreams
This image by RenderArea is an artistic impression of the surface of a newly discovered, scorching hot, rocky, super-Ear ...
APR 11, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Celebrating the International Day of Human Space Flight
APR 11, 2021
Celebrating the International Day of Human Space Flight
Earth's first satellite, Sputnik I, was launched into orbit on October 4, 1957. A few years later, Cosmonaut Yuri Gagari ...
Loading Comments...