This NASA Spacecraft Could Unveil the Origins of Life


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This NASA Spacecraft Could Unveil the Origins of Life

This NASA Spacecraft Could Unveil the Origins of Life

NASA’s first asteroid sample return mission is ready for its long-awaited touchdown on asteroid Bennu. What will its samples reveal?

NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security-Regolith Explorer, or OSIRIS-REx, was launched approximately 4 years ago in September 2016 with the goal of collecting samples from an asteroid. Specifically, a rare B-type asteroid. B-type asteroids are primitive, meaning they haven’t changed much since the Earth was formed 4.5 billion years ago. And this could mean they contain carbon-based organic molecules similar to those that led to life on Earth.

The B-type asteroid OSIRIS-REx was launched at is called Bennu, formerly known as RQ36, and since December 2018, OSIRIS-REx has been surveying and orbiting Bennu, mapping the asteroid’s surface, tracking its spin, ad gaining experience flying close to a small body.


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