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  • Category
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    29th Sep, 2023


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is preparing for the final phase of the OSIRIS-REx mission as the spacecraft is set to drop a capsule containing samples from the asteroid Bennu on Earth.

What OSIRIS-Rex Mission?

  • Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security - Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-Rex) is an ongoing mission. It returned samples of asteroid Bennu to Earth in September 2023, and is now moving on to study asteroid Apophis in 2029.
  • Brief Timeline:
    • Launch: This ambitious asteroid-sampling mission was launched by NASA in 2016 for the journey to Bennu (near-Earth asteroid)
    • It entered orbit around the near-Earth asteroid Bennu in 2018 before a brief touchdown on Oct. 20, 2020, where it retrieved a sample from the surface of the asteroid.
    • OSIRIS-REx then delivered the sample back to Earth on Sept. 24, 2023, before heading off on an extended mission to study asteroid
  • Significance: The mission aims to help scientists investigate how planets formed and how life began, as well as improve our understanding of asteroids that could impact Earth.

Facts about Asteroid

  • Asteroids are the bits and pieces left over from the formation of the planets, and as such, they serve as rudimentary blueprints of the early solar system.


  • Bennu is one of several thousand near-Earth objects orbiting within 120 million miles (190 million km) of Earth.
  • Among those, Bennu was one of less than 200 objects whose orbit was well-known and sufficiently similar to Earth's orbit.
  • This asteroid orbits the sun every 436 days and comes very close to Earth every six years. 
  • It was discovered by a team from the NASA-funded Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research team in 1999.
  • It is a B-type asteroid, implying that it contains significant amounts of carbon and various other minerals.


  • Apophis is another potentially hazardous asteroid that was recently removed from the Sentry Impact Risk Table which keeps track of asteroids where an Earth impact cannot be ruled out. 

About OSIRIS-Rex:


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