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NASA's OSIRIS-REx asteroid mission launches

Posted on Sunday, 11 September, 2016 | Comment icon 8 comments

The probe's collected samples will return to Earth in 2023. Image Credit: NASA / Lockheed Martin
The $1 billion space probe is set to collect samples from an asteroid and return them to the Earth.
Launched atop a 19-story Atlas V rocket on Thursday, the spacecraft, which was developed by Lockheed Martin, is part of NASA's ongoing New Frontiers Program which also included New Horizons, which visited Pluto, and the Juno probe which reached Jupiter earlier this year.

It will take around two years for OSIRIS-REx to reach its destination, the asteroid Bennu, before spending the next 505 days mapping the space rock in unprecedented detail.
Once a suitable site has been picked, the probe will use a robotic arm to collect samples from the asteroid's surface before sending them back to the Earth inside a small capsule.

The mission will help to provide us with a better understanding of the formation and evolution of the solar system while also offering a close-up look at an asteroid which astronomers believe could end up on a collision course with the Earth within the next 200 years.

"We need to know everything about Bennu - its size, mass and composition," said planetary scientist Professor Dante Lauretta. "This could be vital data for future generations."

Source: Business Insider | Comments (8)

Tags: Osiris-Rex, Bennu

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Merc14 on 9 September, 2016, 0:23
Osiris-Rex launch went perfectly, all burns went well and spacecraft deployment was as expected.  Solar arrays then deployed perfectly and the spacecraft is reporting as healthy to control so a big win for NASA and ULA today.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Clair on 9 September, 2016, 16:30
Video of the launch:
Comment icon #3 Posted by paperdyer on 12 September, 2016, 16:07
Great link Clair. I find it hard to see how mining an asteroid can make economical sense. Still if it can be done, I'm sure someone will.  If we find any metal of value like gold or platinum, the market for these could tank with an increased supply. Of course then we'd have a new variety, Space Gold, which might even be more collectible and thus more expensive than common Earth gold or platinum.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 16 September, 2016, 11:44
Space mining makes a lot of economic sense as we move towards a more space, based economy. One of the single largest costs in producing large satellites is the cost of launching it into space. If you can build large space structures from raw materials already in space you can dramatically reduce those costs.  
Comment icon #5 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 16 September, 2016, 11:55
OSIRIS-REx Mission Status Report – Sept. 15  
Comment icon #6 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 27 September, 2016, 9:24
NASA’s Asteroid-Bound Spacecraft Aces Instrument Check  
Comment icon #7 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 8 October, 2016, 19:32
NASA Tests Thrusters on Journey to Asteroid Bennu  
Comment icon #8 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 18 January, 2017, 10:36
Successful Deep Space Maneuver for NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft  

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