NASA to Land Craft on Asteroid in 2018
In the first such mission, Nasa is planning to launch a spacecraft to an asteroid in 2016 and use a robotic arm to pluck samples from a Near Earth Asteroid ( NEA ) that could better explain our solar system’s formation and how life began. The mission will be the first US mission to carry samples from an asteroid back to Earth.
The mission is being called Origins-Spectral Interpretation – Resource Identification – Security – Regolith Explorer or OSIRIS – Rex . After traveling two years, OSIRIS – REx will approach the primitive NEA designated 1999 RQ36 in 2018, discovered back in 1999.
Once within three miles of the asteroid, the spacecraft will begin six months of comprehensive surface mapping. It gradually will move closer to the site, and the arm will extend to collect more than two ounces of material for return to Earth in 2023. Dante Lauretta from University of Arizona is the mission’s principal investigator.
Application Form Submission 16 Dec 2020 to 16 Jan 2021.