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Asteroid Return Mission Spacecraft OSIRIS-REx Picks A Sample Site

Since arriving at near-Earth asteroid Bennu in December 2018, NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission has been studying this small world of boulders, rocks, and loose rubble - and looking for a place to touch down. The goal of OSIRIS-REx is to collect a sample of Bennu in mid-2020, and return it to Earth in late 2023. Photo: NASA
Since arriving at near-Earth asteroid Bennu in December 2018, NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission has been studying this small world of boulders, rocks, and loose rubble - and looking for a place to touch down. The goal of OSIRIS-REx is to collect a sample of Bennu in mid-2020, and return it to Earth in late 2023. Photo: NASA

A spacecraft more than 160 million miles away is about to suck up some asteroid dust -- then send it back to Earth. The OSIRIS-REx mission will collect the sample from Bennu this summer and mission managers are carefully planning the maneuver.

Scientists hope to uncover the building blocks of early life in the universe when the sample arrives back here on Earth in 2023.

We’ll talk with mission scientist Humberto Campins about the final site selected by the team and the surprises OSIRIS-REx uncovered along the way.

Then, the star Betelgeuse is causing quite a stir after astronomers observed the star brightening and dimming in the night sky. Is it going to blow up? We’ll talk with our panel of experts on this week’s segment “I’d Like to Know.”

Brendan Byrne is WMFE's Assistant News Director, managing the day-to-day operations of the WMFE newsroom, editing daily news stories, and managing WMFE's internship program.<br/><br/>Byrne also hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration.