Dr. Ed Cloutis of the University of Manitoba, one of the scientific investigators, provides us with an overview of the OSIRIS-REx mission which will visit and sample asteroid 1999 RQ36.
The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will travel to the near-Earth carbonaceous asteroid 1999 RQ36, study it in detail, and bring back a sample (at least 60 grams or 2.1 ounces) to Earth. This sample will help investigate planet formation and the origin of life. As well the data collected at the asteroid will also help with the understanding of asteroids that can impact Earth. 1999 RQ36 is one of the asteroids which has been identified that will have a very close flyby of the Earth. The mission is scheduled for launch in 2016 with a rendezvous in 2019.