NASA will launch the first U.S. asteroid sample return mission in 2016.
How did our solar system evolve from a whirlpool of gas, dust and fiery droplets of molten rock? In 2016, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will embark on an epic seven-year mission to answer that question. The spacecraft will travel to Bennu, a carbon-rich asteroid that measures about one-third of a mile in diameter and completes an orbit around our sun every 436.6 days. Scientists believe the asteroid formed during an ancient cosmic collision about one billion years ago and is composed of the same raw ingredients that created the planets. OSIRIS-REx will explore Bennu, collect a sample from its surface and bring it back to Earth for analysis. The findings will help scientists better understand the history of the solar system and the origin of life on our planet. Watch the video to learn more.