NASA Probe to reach Asteroid Bennu on Dec 3.

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NASA (Representational Image)
NASA (Representational Image)

New Delhi : NASA spacecraft engineered to explore asteroid Bennu is on course to arrive its destination on December 3, the US space agency reports. The spacecraft has been designed to bring small sample from asteroid to Earth. 

Launched in September 2016, the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft has been slowly approaching Bennu, NASA said. It is believed that spacecraft will spend almost a year surveying the asteroid with five scientific instruments with the goal of selecting a location that is safe and scientifically interesting to collect the sample

Experts say that the spacecraft will briefly touch Bennu’s surface around July 2020 to collect at least 60 grams of dirt and rocks. It might collect as much as 2,000 grams, which would be the largest sample by far gathered from a space object since the Apollo Moon landings.

NASA spacecraft will collect sample into a capsule and travel back to Earth, dropping the capsule into Utah’s west desert in September 2023, where scientists will be waiting to collect it, NASA said. 

NASA's mission will help scientists investigate how planets formed and how life began, as well as improve our understanding of asteroids that could impact Earth.

If everything goes as per plan then NASA's OSIRIS-REx probe will arrive at Bennu at about 12 p.m. EST (1700 GMT) on Monday (Dec. 3), ending a 27-month deep-space chase. Interested sky-watchers can watch live at Space.com