NASA launches spacecraft to save the world from asteroid Bennu
Remember the film Armageddon? The one where Bruce Willis leads his team of rag-tag, drillers-cum-astronauts into space to save the world from impending asteroid collision, all the while Aerosmith's "Don't want to miss a thing" wails in the background? Yeah, well, that is happening... except this time without Bruce Willis.
This week everyone's favourite space department, NASA, launched the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft with the mission of saving the world from an asteroid collision. Its target is Bennu, a primitive asteriod with a threatening orbit that scientists predicted may collide with earth within the 22nd century.
Helping to justify the $800 million cost of the project is the fact that Bennu is a carbon rich asteriod that scientists are hoping that test samples will help the gain a deeper understanding of how life on earth began.
OSIRIS Rex is expected to settle in Bennu's orbit by 2018, and then start mapping and creating an inventory of chemical and mineral composition via satellite. That process is expected to last for two years, which is when the satellite will move closer to the surface and will gather samples.