The first U.S. spacecraft to collect a sample from an asteroid is scheduled to return to Earth on September 24. Ahead of its return, Awtrey Middle School students talked to a NASA engineer about the historic mission of the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-Rex).
During a virtual presentation, Awtrey 6th graders talked to Coralie Adam, Lead Optical Navigation Engineer, who served with the NASA OSIRIS-Rex mission. Awtrey was one of only three schools in the nation selected for the opportunity to ask the NASA engineer questions about the historic experience.
OSIRIS-Rex launched September 8, 2016 and collected samples from the Bennu asteroid in 2020 before beginning its return to Earth.
The mission, managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and led by Dante Lauretta at the University of Arizona, aimed to provide a glimpse back in time to the earliest history of our solar system. The sample from asteroid Bennu will help scientists answer questions about the origins of water and life on Earth. OSIRIS-Rex will also help us better understand asteroids that could impact Earth in the future, and better understand how we can protect our planet. OSIRIS-Rex is the third major planetary science mission for NASA’s New Frontiers Program.