It’s name is Bennu and it’s an asteroid that will pass between the Earth and the moon in 2135. That in itself is nothing amazing. In fact, 37 asteroids will do just that in 2016 alone. What makes this one different is that NASA believes it could return later in the 22nd century and potentially impact the Earth.
Later this year, the OSIRIS-REx mission will launch from launch complex 41 on an Atlas rocket. Three years later, it will arrive at Bennu and spend 505 days there to observe, map and take samples. Then it will blast off again and head back home, bringing with it up to 4.4 pounds of asteroid rock. It will touch down at the Utah Test and Training Range in 2023.
Fun Facts About Bennu:
Diameter: Approximately 500 meters
Mass: Roughly 8 billion kilograms
Orbit: 1.2 times that of Earth – it orbits the sun every 436 days
Surface Temperature: Between -34.6ºF and 42.8ºF
Fun Facts About OSIRIS-REx
Spacecraft Mass at Launch: 1529 kilograms
Speed After Launch: 12,000 mph
Relative Speed at Intercept: .45 mph
Size: 3m cube