NASA Mission AMA: We are scientists and engineers preparing for the
OSIRIS-REx spacecraft’s Earth flyby tomorrow. Ask us anything!
Thanks for the great questions, Reddit! We’re done answering for the day
and are off to finish preparations for tomorrow’s Earth Gravity Assist
maneuver. Tomorrow, NASA’s asteroid-hunting spacecraft, OSIRIS-REx, will
fly by Earth and use the planet’s gravitational pull to slingshot itself
onto a new trajectory. This maneuver, called an Earth Gravity Assist
(EGA), will put the spacecraft on course to rendezvous with a primitive,
near-Earth asteroid named Bennu. The spacecraft will reach Bennu next
year, map the asteroid, and collect a sample of surface material (called
regolith) that will be returned to Earth for study in 2023. This mission
will bring the largest sample of space material to Earth since the
Apollo missions’ lunar samples. We’re a group of scientists and
engineers based at the University of Arizona—home to the mission’s
Principal Investigator’s office and the Science Processing Operations
Center—ready to answer your questions about OSIRIS-REx, EGA, and the
mission to collect some of the oldest material in the solar system.
We’ll be online from 1 to 3 pm PST (4 to 6 pm EST). Ask us anything!
Dr. Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx Principal Investigator Sara Knutson,
OSIRIS-REx Science Operations Lead Engineer Dr. Ellen Howell, OSIRIS-REx
Senior Research Scientist, Asteroid Spectroscopy Joshua Nelson,
OSIRIS-REx Science Operations Engineer Anjani Polit, OSIRIS-REx Mission
Implementation Systems Engineer Heather Enos, OSIRIS-REx Deputy
Principal Investigator Dr. Lucy Lim, OSIRIS-REx Assistant Project