NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona hide caption This mosaic image of asteroid Bennu is composed of

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[ NASA Is Poised To Collect Bits Of An Asteroid To Bring Back To Earth ]

This mosaic image of asteroid Bennu is composed of 12 images collected on Dec. 2, 2018 by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft from a range of 15 miles. NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona hide caption

A NASA spacecraft, if all goes well, will soon touch down briefly on a skyscraper-sized asteroid 200 million miles away, in order to collect a small amount of rock and dust that can then be returned to Earth.

The probe, called OSIRIS-REx, is about as big as a 15-passenger van, and it needs to land for just 5 to 10 seconds on specific spot inside a boulder-strewn crater. The maneuver on Tuesday will be tricky and fraught with peril, as the spacecraft tries to reach a safe area that’s only the size of a few parking spaces.

Date: 2020-10-19
Twitter: @NPR
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NASA’s about to scoop up some asteroid dirt on the space rock Bennu. Scientists are thrilled.

NASA will touch a space rock tomorrow (Oct. 20) in a milestone event for what the agency considers a crucial field of study: asteroid science.

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has spent two years orbiting a near-Earth asteroid called Bennu in preparation for the big moment. But that mission, more formally known as the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer, is just one of a host of asteroid missions on NASA’s agenda.

“While the planets and moons have changed over the millennia, many of these small bodies of ice and rock and metal haven’t,” Lori Glaze, head of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, said during a news conference held on Monday (Oct. 19). “So the asteroids are like time capsules floating in space that can provide a fossil record of the birth of our solar system.”

Date: 2020-10-19T21:19:35Z
Author: Meghan Bartels
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A NASA spacecraft is poised to snag the largest sample of rocks from an asteroid ever

Tomorrow, a US spacecraft more than 200 million miles from Earth will sneak up to an asteroid larger than the Empire State Building and snag a handful of rocks from its surface. If all goes to plan, the spacecraft will store the precious cache of rocks inside its belly, and will eventually transport the materials to Earth, where they can be studied by scientists in a lab.

The spacecraft stealing these rocks is called OSIRIS-REx, part of the first-ever NASA mission tasked with returning samples of an asteroid back to Earth. Launched in September of 2016, OSIRIS-REx spent two years traveling to an asteroid named Bennu. Since it arrived in 2018, the spacecraft has been circling the asteroid and mapping it in excruciating detail, in order to find just the right spot to scoop up a sample.

Publisher: The Verge
Date: 2020-10-19T12:36:26-04:00
Author: Loren Grush
Twitter: @verge
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Update: NASA to Broadcast OSIRIS-REx Activities

Publisher: NASA
Twitter: @11348282
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Greetings Earthlings: We are out of our element The data presented above may one day be zapped to another dimension. Just thought you should be aware. Dude, there was a blue light over there just now.