NASA will launch a space mission that will travel to the asteroid called Bennu on September 8 to study and return samples from the rock formation.
The space agency said Wednesday itsÂ Goddard Space Flight Center leads theÂ OSIRIS-REx mission that will useÂ Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification and Security-Regolith Explorer instruments to survey the asteroid for a year.
Lockheed MartinÂ is developingÂ the spacecraft for the mission and the University of Arizona’sÂ Dante Lauretta will serveÂ as the principal investigator
OSIRIS-REx’s goal is toÂ search for plumes of material coming from the asteroid, measure non-gravitationalÂ forces on Bennu and identify the best spot to collect samples from.
âEverything the spacecraft learns will be woven together like a tapestry to tell the story of Bennu,â said Kevin Walsh, OSIRIS-REx co-investigator at the Southwest Research Institute.
NASA noted three operations maps are planned to evaluate safe areas for the spacecraft to move close to, determine areas the sampling arm can create contact with the surface and to indicate where to collect material suited for sampling.