NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is closing in on a sky-scraper sized asteroid called Bennu to collect some sample dust from it. This has been one of the most awaited missions of NASA because it is its first asteroid-sample-return mission.
OSIRIS-REx, which was launched two years back from Florida, has closed in on Bennu but the sample-dust will not be collected till July 2020. The space dust collected and brought to the Earth will give leads into the start of life in the solar system.
Bennu is one of the oldest asteroids known to NASA among the 500,000 asteroids in the solar system. This carbon-rich asteroid orbits close to Earth’s path around the Sun, hence, is apt for the scientific study.
OSIRIS REx is the acronym of Origins, Spectral Interpretations, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer. Going by the images released, Bennu is about the size of a small mountain of 500 meters in diameter. OSIRIS REx will revolve circularly around Bennu and extend a robotic arm to collect the prized sample and return to the Earth in 2023.