NASA’s space craft OSIRIS-REx (which stands for the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer!) has been hurtling through our solar system to chase down a near-Earth asteroid named Bennu. 

What's the OSIRIS-REx Mission all about?

The aim of the mission is to collect samples from the surface of the asteroid and return them to Earth.  The mission will provide critical information about the solar system formation processes, plus, we can learn if asteroids like Bennu contain natural resources such as water or precious metals. 

When Did it Leave Earth?

OSIRIS-REx launched in September 2016. Then, a year later, it used Earth’s gravitational field to help get it to Bennu. Local WA Astrophotographer, Mike Whait, took a video of OSIRIS-REx when it passed close to Earth!

When and How Will it Land on the Asteroid?

In the early hours of the morning on 21st October (WA time), OSIRIS-REx will touch down ever so briefly on the surface of the asteroid. It has capability to perform three sampling manoeuvres, returning the collected material to Earth in September 2023.

How Can I Watch it Live?

Live coverage of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft touch-and-go (TAG) manoeuvre is at 5am, Wednesday 21st October (WA time) on NASA TV:

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Carol Redford - Founder Stargazers Club WA

Carol

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