Born from the rubble of a violent collision, hurled through space for millions of years and dismembered by the gravity of planets, asteroid Bennu had a tough life in a rough neighborhood: the early solar system. The OSIRIS-Rex mission will be launched toward Bennu in late 2016, arrive at the asteroid in 2018, and return a sample of Bennu's surface to Earth in 2023. Bennu's experiences will tell us more about where our solar system came from and how it evolved. Like the detectives in a crime show episode, we'll examine bits of evidence from Bennu to understand more completely the story of the solar system, which is ultimately the story of our origin.
Author/Origin: Michael C. Nolan/Arecibo Observatory/NASA/NSF