On September 8th a ULA Atlas V rocket will launch the OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer) from Cape Canaveral. The spacecraft’s mission is to visit the asteroid Bennu and bring back a small sample of it to earth. Analysis of the sample will provide hints about the conditions of the early solar system and provide clues on such as to how water and organic molecules came to the Earth. The mission will also add to the general knowledge about asteroids including possible resources of use in space and on earth.
On Wednesday, NASA held a panel briefing to discuss the meeting with the press:
This video describes the Bennu asteroid:
This video shows the trajectory of OSIRIS-REx reaches Bennu and returns to earth, taking advantage of the fact that the asteroid’s orbit is near earth and crosses earth’s: