News: OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has successfully touched an asteroid Bennu to collect dust and pebbles from the surface for delivery to Earth.
- OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer) is a NASA asteroid-study and sample-return mission.
- Aim: To travel to a near-Earth asteroid named Bennu and bring a small sample back to Earth for study by 2023.
- Significance: The material returned is expected to enable scientists to learn more about the formation and evolution of the Solar System, its initial stages of planet formation, and the source of organic compounds that led to the formation of life on Earth.
- Uniqueness of mission: If successful, OSIRIS-REx will be the first United States spacecraft to return samples from an asteroid.