OSIRIS-REx launches on historic journey

Posted at 2:33 PM, Sep 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-09 07:09:26-04

NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida around 4:05 p.m.Tucson time.

OSIRIS-REx seeks answers to the questions that are central to the human experience: Where did we come from? What is our destiny? Asteroids, the leftover debris from the solar system formation process, can answer these questions and teach us about the history of the sun and planets.

According to the official OSIRIS-REx website:

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is traveling to Bennu, a carbonaceous asteroid whose regolith may record the earliest history of our solar system. Bennu may contain the molecular precursors to the origin of life and the Earth’s oceans. Bennu is also one of the most potentially hazardous asteroids, as it has a relatively high probability of impacting the Earth late in the 22nd century. OSIRIS-REx will determine Bennu’s physical and chemical properties, which will be critical to know in the event of an impact mitigation mission. Finally, asteroids like Bennu contain natural resources such as water, organics, and precious metals. In the future, these asteroids may one day fuel the exploration of the solar system by robotic and manned spacecraft.

The launch of OSIRIS-RE will be the first U.S. mission tasked in brining back a sample from an asteroid. 

If you want to watch the launch online, NASA will be streaming the event live:

OSIRIS-REx is an acronym that incorporates the mission’s major concepts and goals. Click here for the full explanation of the acronym.

For more information on the OSIRIS-REx mission, click here for the official website.