10 Things to Know About NASA's Mission to Taste an Asteroid
If all goes well, NASA’s latest spacecraft will capture samples from an asteroid in 2020 and then return them to Earth. Here’s how.
If NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft were penning a memoir, it might be titled There and Back Again: A Spacecraft’s Tale.
The memoir would begin at 7:05 p.m. ET on September 8, when the launch window opens for blastoff from Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida. If all goes well, OSIRIS-REx will visit the asteroid Bennu and bring pieces of it back to Earth in 2023.
OSIRIS-REx (yes, that’s an acronym; more on that in a minute) is the third mission in NASA’s New Frontiers program, which previously sent the New Horizons spacecraft zooming by Pluto and the Juno spacecraft into orbit around Jupiter. Unlike its predecessors, though, this spacecraft is a) coming back and b) going to bring a bit