An asteroid called Bennu might be a potential threat to Earth on a crash course to collide with our planet in the year 2182. Now, Canada is joining forces with NASA to visit the asteroid and bring back a sample of rocks, as part of a mission called OSIRIS-Rex that is scheduled to launch in September of 2015.
A near-Earth asteroid called Bennu is close enough to be a considered potential threat to collide with our planet in 2182, even though the odds of that happening are roughly one in eighteen hundred.
Now, Canada is joining forces with NASA to visit the asteroid and bring back a sample of rocks as part of an unmanned mission called OSIRIS-REx that is scheduled to launch in the Fall of 2016.
Tony Clement, Canada’s President of the Treasury Board, is quoted as saying: "They will be creating a 3D map of the asteroid. That will help the team choose the best site to land and collect the sample using advanced robotics.”
If all goes according to plan, the spacecraft will reach the asteroid in 2018 and travel back to Earth during the year 2023.
Experts hope the mission to Bennu will help them understand what asteroids are made of, because it is reportedly 4 and a half billion years old.
They’re also curious to see if there are resources that can be mined from asteroids, not to mention learning about its path and if there is any way to change its orbit if it does threaten Earth.