Sitting on an asteroid, more than a 100 million miles away from Earth, are a few ounces of soil scientists are anxiously awaiting to get their hands on - a sample that just might contain the molecular precursors to the origin of life. But just how will these scientists accomplish this? The half-hour documentary OSIRIS-REX: COUNTDOWN TO LAUNCH follows a multi-generational team of scientists and engineers as they struggle to design, construct, and deliver on time the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft and its components to NASA in anticipation of its September 2016 launch from Cape Canaveral. OSIRIS-REx is expected to travel more than 400 million miles to rendezvous with an asteroid named Bennu, whose diameter is less than half a mile. It will then use its suite of instruments to find the perfect place to gather a sample from the asteroid's surface, traveling another 400 million miles and a total of six years to bring that sample back to Earth. NASA's OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sample Return Mission is a 14-year, one billion dollar study aimed at learning more about one of the most fascinating and potentially hazardous asteroids in the solar system - before it potentially collides with Earth more than 150 years from now.
Length: 26 minutes