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Last Look at Asteroid Planned Before OSIRIS-REx Launch

September 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Every six years, asteroid 1999 RQ36 nears the Earth — by cosmic standards — and researchers are launching a global observation campaign to learn as much as possible in preparation for the OSIRIS-REx, the first U.S.-led mission to bring back a sample of pristine asteroid material.

Astronomers working on the U.S.’ first asteroid-sample return mission – the NASA mission named OSIRIS-REx – have begun a months-long observing campaign that is the last chance to study their target asteroid from Earth before the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft launches in 2016.

OSIRIS-REx is a quest to bring back to Earth a good-sized sample of an asteroid unaltered since solar system formation – a sample that very well could contain molecules that seeded life.

Full Story: http://uanews.org/node/41796

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