New Delhi: NASA probe is all set to to search for 'rare' asteroids that share our home planet's orbit.
While heading towards asteroid Bennu, the NASA has claimed that its 'numero uno' mission to return a sample of an asteroid to the Earth will also search for “Trojan” asteroids.
In mid-February 2017, the OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security- Regolith Explorer) spacecraft will activate its onboard camera suite and commence a search for the elusive "Trojan" asteroids, NASA said.
The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is currently on a seven-year journey to rendezvous with, study, and bring a sample of Bennu to the Earth.
This sample of a primitive asteroid will help scientists understand the formation of our solar system more than 4.5 billion years ago.
"The Earth-Trojan asteroid search provides a substantial advantage to the OSIRIS-REx mission," said OSIRIS-REx Principal Investigator Dante Lauretta of the University of Arizona, Tucson.
"Not only do we have the opportunity to discover new members of an asteroid class, but more importantly, we are practicing critical mission operations in advance of our arrival at Bennu, which ultimately reduces mission risk," Lauretta said.