- OSIRIS-REx will collect samples from asteroid Bennu on Oct. 20, at 6:12 p.m. EDT
- NASA will provide a live stream of the historic feat on their website
- Viewers can ask questions to mission experts by tweeting #ToBennuAndBack
NASA announced Thursday its live stream of OSIRIS-REx’s mission as it ventures from orbit departure to sample collection on the asteroid Benu.
The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer mission, better known as OSIRIS-REx, is set to collect samples of an asteroid named Bennu on Oct. 20, at 6:12 p.m. EDT. NASA is keen to share the intimate moments of the mission with the public, releasing an article on Oct. 15 about its live stream and the activities it has planned for the day itself.
Live coverage of the spacecraft’s descent toward the asteroid’s surface, as well as its “Touch-and-Go” maneuver, will be provided by NASA Television and its website at 5 p.m. EDT.
As early as 1:50 p.m. EDT, the spacecraft will begin its orbit departure maneuver, which will also be covered by OSIRIS-REx’s official Twitter account (@OSIRISREx). The media and the public will be free to ask questions to mission experts during this time by tweeting their query while using the hashtag #ToBennuAndBack.
With plenty of ways to participate and learn more about the OSIRIS-REx mission, one can also opt to join in the social media activities to start Monday, Oct. 19 — a day before the spacecraft’s actual descent to Bennu.
Bennu is an asteroid located 321 million kilometers from Earth. At a diameter of 1,607 feet, it is the size of the Empire State Building in New York and is said to contain ingredients of life necessary on Earth, making it a recent subject of interest for scientists. Bennu, however, could potentially threaten Earth late in the next century, as it has a 1-in-2,700 chance of impacting the planet in one of its close approaches.
With the help of OSIRIS-REx, the samples to be brought back to Earth could answer more questions about how the solar system started and how life on Earth began.
OSIRIS-REx was built by Lockheed Martin Space and is the third mission in NASA’s New Frontiers Program. It is managed by the space agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.