NASA’s OSIRIS-REx — Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith
Explorer — spacecraft briefly touched asteroid Bennu, from where it is meant to collect samples of dust
and pebbles and deliver them back to Earth in 2023.
The asteroid was named after an Egyptian deity by a nine-year-old boy from North Carolina in 2013 who won
NASA’s “Name that Asteroid” competition.
The asteroid was discovered by a team from the NASA-funded Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research team in
Bennu is an asteroid located at a distance of about 200 million miles away from the Earth.
OSIRIS-REx mission is NASA’s first mission meant to return a sample from the ancient asteroid. The mission was
launched in 2016, it reached its target in 2018 and since then, the spacecraft has been trying to match the velocity
of the asteroid.
Scientists study asteroids to look for information about the formation and history of planets and the sun since
asteroids were formed at the same time as other objects in the solar system. Another reason for tracking them is
to look for asteroids that might be potentially hazardous.