NASA´s Origins Spectral Interpretation, Resource, Security Regolith Explorer (OR¡SIRIS-Rex) Spacecraft will be launched on September 8, 2018 from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The spacecraft main objective is to land on Asteroid _bennnu and obtain a sample from its surface. The studies performed on this sample will help scientists understand how the planets formed and new clues at how life started. It will also give new information about the dangers of asteroid impacts on earth.

The mission

OSIRIS_Rex is a 2,119 kg (4,650 pound) space vehicle which will be launched in an Atlas V 411 rocket.

The spacecraft will reach asteroid Bennu in 2018. Once there, the vehicle will survey the asteroid and locate the most likely surface locations from where to obtain samples. It´s plan that the vehicle collects from 60-2,000 gr (2-70 ounces) of surface rocks with robotic instrumentation after which the samples will be returned to earth in a detachable capsule. The samples are planned to reach earth in 2023.

Scientific instruments

The spacecraft is equipped with a series of cameras to globally and on site image the asteroid. A light detection ranging will allow it to measure the distance between the vehicle and Bennu. A thermal emission spectrometer will be used to study mineral formations and temperature.

A visible and infrared spectrometer will measure the visible and infrared spectrums to identify mineral and organic material. A regolith X-ray imaging spectrometer will identify chemical elements on Bennu´s surface. An articulated robotic arm will be used to collect samples and a capsule with heat shield and parachutes will return the sample to earth.

The team

In this project many scientists, technicians, engineers and other personnel have been involved. the OSIRIS-Rex mission is the first of a seven year journey intended to return samples form he surface of asteroid Bennu with the intention to perform scientific research on the sample rocks and gain a better understanding of the processes of formation of this type of astronomical bodies and the consequences they have on the formation of other asteroids, planets and the origins of life.

NASA´s first ever study of an asteroid in the solar system,. This missionwill help scientists on earth advance in the understanding of the earth, the planets and the solar system as a whole. It will also help scientists understand the dangers of asteroid impact on earth.