NASA's improbably acronmyed* "Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security – Regolith Explorer" OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has arrived at Florida's Kennedy Space Center ahead of a September launch on an asteroid-sampling mission.

OSIRIS-REx will travel to near-Earth asteroid Bennu, arriving in 2018, and spend two years mapping the approximately 500-510 metre diameter object before collecting a surface sample for return to Earth.

The OSIRIS-REx Thermal Emission Spectrometer OTES will collect "mineral and temperature information by collecting infrared from 5 to 50 microns spectral data"

OVIRS "OSIRIS-REx Visible and Infrared Spectrometer" will, meanwhile, measure visible and infrared light from Bennu.

Finally, the Regolith X-ray Imaging Spectrometer REXIS - developed in collaboration with MIT and Harvard University - will sniff "which elements are present, and how abundant they are, on the surface of Bennu".

The space agency believes it can hoover up 2kg of Bennu - or at least 60g at worst - for return to Earth aboard the Sample Return Capsule SRC - "an aeroshell design container with a heatshield and parachutes".


*Here's the background: "OSIRIS-REx is an acronym that incorporates the mission s major concepts and goals.

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