New Delhi: NASA will launch the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to a near-Earth asteroid on Thursday to bring a small sample back to earth for study.
Bolted to the top of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will lift off on September 8, 2016, at 7:05 p.m. EDT, from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
As per NASA, the Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security - Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft will travel to Bennu (formerly 1999 RQ36), and bring at least a 2.1-ounce sample back to Earth for study.
If all goes according to plan, the spacecraft will reach its asteroid target in 2018 and return a sample to Earth in 2023.
The mission will help scientists investigate how planets formed and how life began, as well as improve our understanding of asteroids that could impact Earth.