NASA is in the middle of a 9 year mission to collect and analyze sample material from Asteroid Bennu as it orbits the sun. It took 2 years for spacecraft OSIRIS REx to reach the meteor and another 2 years for it to study it and rehearse the collection procedure. Around 5pm today (10-20-2020), OSIRIS REx will collect samples from an asteroid orbiting the sun. For 2 years the OSIRIS-REx has been studying Asteroid Bennu and rehearsing the collection procedure. Dr. Kevin Righter is the Curation Lead for the mission. "The sampler is on the end of an arm of the spacecraft. The sampler, which looks like a pogo stick, will touch the asteroid for about 5 seconds as it collects samples.Samples will be brought back to Earth in their pristine state." It's an important mission. "The asteroid is carbonaceous and it contains what we think will be the kinds of organic compounds that gave life to Planet Earth."
The craft will stay along-side the steroid, then come back to earth for a 2023 landing in Utah.
NASA is streaming the collection live this evening around 5 o'clock. Click here to connect to the live streaming
Photo posted with permission from NASA Johnson Space Center