Vid NASA has given the go-ahead to start building the Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer, or OSIRIS-REx, spacecraft for its 2016 mission to rendezvous with asteroid Bennu.
The team that will run the space agency's first attempt to collect samples from an asteroid and bring them back to Earth has been given the nod to start work on the craft, flight instruments and the ground launch support facilities, after a successful Mission Critical Design Review.
NASA is hoping to see OSIRIS-REx blast off in two years' time to secure samples from Bennu and then return home with them in 2023. The mission will help boffins figure out more about the raw materials in the early Solar System that made life possible here on Earth. ®