NASA intends to send in September the first of its kind research mission to an asteroid.
Launched the probe will be sent to the asteroid Bennu, which flies to Earth and may be in any way interact with it in the next few centuries. The probe task is not only to scan the asteroid and produce detailed maps of the cosmic body, but also the collection of residual soil samples from the surface of Bennu, which was then scheduled to deliver to Earth.
The road to the asteroid will be long. To reach a destination, the probe will take about two years. Upon arrival, OSIRIS-REX starts to scan the surface of Bennu, and this will continue to be engaged in over 505 days. To study the surface and the probe will help cartographers from a distance of 5 kilometers - at a distance of his job will be safe and as effective as possible. Collected as a result of the scan data will help NASA experts to determine the best place to try to ground the fence.
To collect a sample, the probe is equipped with a long probe, which, if all goes well, will be able to scoop up about two kilograms of gravel and dust from the surface of the asteroid. To do this, the probe will have to carefully go down and consuming fuel sparingly, make a fence with a height of five meters. The probe is equipped with a timer that after five seconds after contact with the surface to start the engine, so that the probe will be able to fly, avoiding accidents and injuries. Asteroid and the probe will be too far away from Earth, so to coordinate the actions of the device and the probe will not work in real time, so the timer and automatic maneuvering of the program in this case is a must.
Samples collected from the asteroid, is scheduled to deliver to Earth by 2023. Soil Studies Bennu help learn more about him and, among other things, to investigate its composition. There is a danger that the asteroid may in the future fall back to Earth, and if it happens, cause considerable damage. Bennu diameter of about 500 meters.
Start probe OSIRIS-REX is scheduled for September 8, 2016.