Astro Quiz 13: What is OSIRIS-REx?
Question #12 – What is NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft doing and why is it so important to the inhabitants of Earth?
OSIRIS-REx is a robotic spacecraft in orbit around a small asteroid named Bennu. Asteroid Bennu orbits the Sun near the Earth, and has a diameter of only 1/3 of a mile! Actual samples of the asteroid will be collected in 2020 and brought back to Earth for study in 2023.
Understanding the composition of Bennu is important because there is a small chance that Bennu will hit the Earth in the late 22nd century!
More information can be found on the OSIRIS-REx Mission page.
Bennu North Pole Flyover (Image credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona)