Last Updated on October 18, 2020 by Solar System Ambassador Pam Roller

Solar System Ambassador Pam Roller

Here’s an update from our local Solar System Ambassador Pam Roller:

OSIRIS-REx is an acronym for: Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer.

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is orbiting asteroid Bennu, where it’s set to capture a sample on October 20th. The mission has provided planetary scientists with the first-ever opportunity to observe, at close range, the asteroid shedding particles into space.

Live coverage of the spacecraft’s descent to the asteroid’s surface for its “Touch-And-Go,” or TAG, maneuver, which will be managed by Lockheed Martin Space near Denver, will begin at 5 p.m. on NASA TV and the agency’s website.

The full sequence of the complicated engineering feat will be covered on @OSIRISREx, and media and the public can ask questions using the hashtag #ToBennuandBack.

The OSIRIS-REx, spacecraft is about the size of a 15-passenger van, and it is currently orbiting the asteroid Bennu 200 million miles from Earth. The asteroid is about as tall as the Empire State Building. Bennu contains material from the early solar system and may contain the molecular precursors to life and Earth’s oceans.