Add your name to U of A asteroid mission - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Add your name to U of A asteroid mission

Posted: Updated:

The University of Arizona is leading another space mission, called OSIRIS-REx, in partnership with NASA. 

An unmanned spacecraft, scheduled to launch in September 2016, will travel to an asteroid circling the sun.

The OSIRIS-REx mission will map and study an asteroid nicknamed 'Bennu'. 

Travel to the asteroid will take about 2 years.

Then spacecraft will spend over 500 days studying Bennu, before returning to Earth in 2023 with a sample of the asteroid back to Earth. 

As U of A scientists get ready for the mission, they want you to add your name to OSIRIS-REx. 

The project is called 'Messages to Bennu'. 

Simply fill out the form at this link and your name is added to a microchip that will travel with OSIRIS-REx. 

A second copy of the microchip will stay in space, while the original copy will travel back to Earth with the asteroid sample.  

Bennu is a near-Earth object.

The asteroid circles the sun every 436.604 days (1.2 years), and NASA says it comes relatively close to Earth every 6 years.  

NASA projects Bennu could impact the planet in the year 2182.

The OSIRIS-Rex mission will "further the understanding of effects on this orbit and produce information to refine the calculations of the orbit and its intersection with Earth's."

The previous joint U of A and NASA mission was the Phoenix Mars Lander.

That spacecraft landed on Mars in May 2008 and operated into the beginning of November, about 2 months longer than the planned mission.  

The Martian winter then too a toll on the Lander and communication was permanently lost.  

The Phoenix Mars Lander mission studied the presence of water on the Red Planet.   

Powered by WorldNow