MAY 12

Preliminary   > Science and Technology   >   Space technology   >   Space organisations & missions

About OSIRIS-Rex:

  • OSIRIS-REx is a NASA asteroid study and sample-return mission.
  • The mission's goal is to obtain a small sample from asteroid Bennu, and return the sample to Earth for detailed analysis by 2023.
  • OSIRIS-REx marks the first mission by NASA to collect and deliver to Earth samples from an ancient Asteroid.
  • The material returned is expected to enable scientists to learn more about  
    • the formation and evolution of the Solar System
    • its initial stages of planet formation
    • the source of organic compounds that led to the formation of life on Earth.
  • OSIRIS-REx was launched back in 2016, and it started orbiting Asteroid Bennu in December 2018.
  • For the past two years, the spacecraft had been trying to match the asteroid's velocity, while also studying and capturing images of its surface for potential landing sites and providing data for scientists to study how the Sun light has been affecting Bennu's orbit.

About Bennu:

  • Bennu is an Near Earth Asteroid as well as a potentially hazardous asteroids (PHA) as there is a chance that Bennu could collide with Earth about 150 years later.
  • Bennu is an asteroid, containing carbon and several other minerals in significant amounts.
  • Due to the high carbon content, Bennu is able to reflect about 4% of the Sun light it receives compared to about 30% for earth.

Prelims Question

Osiris-Rex, a NASA space mission, aims to study:
(b)Asteroid Bennu
(c)Comet Borrell

Answer to prelims question