The Mars InSight lander only just touched down on the Red Planet, but NASA is already gearing up for the landing of another incredibly interesting mission. The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer spacecraft (OSIRIS-REx for short) is getting ever closer to the space rock known as Bennu, and NASA is going to host a live stream to celebrate the occasion.
The arrival is slated for 12 p.m. EST on Monday, December 3rd, and the stream will provide live coverage from the OSIRIS-REx mission control room so we can all watch as the engineers monitor the status of the spacecraft.
The name OSIRIS-REx might not be familiar to you but the mission has actually been underway for a long, long time. The spacecraft originally launched way back in September of 2016 and it’s gradually been making its way to Bennu ever since.
Its goal is to eventually land on and study the space rock, and NASA is excited about what it might find. But before that can happen, the team needs to decide where on the rock to land in order for OSIRIS-REx to have the best chance at success. Then, the lander will lift off from the asteroid and fly back to Earth with a sample of Bennu’s material.
“The spacecraft will spend almost a year surveying the asteroid with five scientific instruments with the goal of selecting a location that is safe and scientifically interesting to collect the sample,” NASA explains. “OSIRIS-REx will return the sample to Earth in September 2023.”
The live stream, on NASA’s YouTube page, is scheduled to begin at approximately 11:45 a.m. EST on December 3rd, and will carry on for about a half hour, which should be just long enough for NASA to confirm that the probe made it safe and sound.