The Morning News OSIRIS-REx Is Headed to an Asteroid to Bring Back Dust
From July, inspecting the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Credit: NASA.

NASA launches robotic spacecraft that will visit Bennu, a carbon-rich asteroid the size of several city blocks with the hope of finding clues to the chaotic beginnings of our solar system—and a window to the origin of life.

Great news! Launch operations are complete and I am officially in my Cruise Phase. #ToBennuAndBack

— OSIRIS-REx (@OSIRISREx) September 10, 2016
Sep 11, 2016

OSIRIS-REx lifts off aboard an Atlas V rocket. After a minute, it goes supersonic. After 90 seconds, it reaches peak stress due to the combination of velocity and remaining atmosphere. At two minutes, it is going 2,500 miles per hour, weighs half what it did at liftoff, and is headed for space.

By the time the spacecraft arrives at Bennu in 2018, there will be no spacecraft visiting or en route to any of the outer planets—Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune—for the first time since 1979.

In a hostile funding environment, OSIRIS-REx's launch is a bright spot in an otherwise dim picture for space exploration.
↩︎ The Planetary Society
Sep 11, 2016

No, Asteroid Bennu Will Not Destroy Us

Principle investigator of OSIRIS-REx mission to asteroid Bennu does the math to dispel rumors NASA mission is a last-ditch effort to save humanity—even if it hit Earth and caused a "major natural disaster," it wouldn't end society.

Sep 11, 2016

Related: Launch satellites into the sun, travel time, and save humanity in Spaceplan, a charming strategy game for the background of your browser

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