NASA to collect asteroid sample as OSIRIS-REx completes 7-year mission

OSIRIS-REx expected to land Sunday in Utah

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Seven years after OSIRIS-REx took flight from Cape Canaveral and traveled to an asteroid 200 million miles away, NASA said the largest amount of extraterrestrial rocks and dust collected since Apollo is scheduled to be brought back from space on Sunday.

“Each grain is going to probably tell us a different story,” Dr. Humberto Campins said.

The UCF physics and astronomy professor has worked on the mission since 2010.

Campins said the sample could help NASA learn more about the history of the solar system, including Earth.

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“It’s going to help us understand the origin of life here on Earth, from the surface of Mars, or on the moons of Jupiter, or on planets around other stars,” he said.

NASA animation showed OSIRIS-REx landing Sunday in Utah.

From the desert, NASA will take the sample to the same building at the Johnson Space Center in Houston where Apollo’s moon rocks are stored.

After scientists start reviewing the sample, NASA said it will discuss more about what the mission discovered next month.

“We really want to get those samples in the lab and be able to look at the composition, look at those rocks under microscopes,” Dr. Amy Simon, a NASA senior scientist said. “We’re hoping that we’ll see the building blocks of life.”

NASA’s coverage starts Sunday at 10 a.m.

Should teams give the GO for landing, you can watch OSIRIS-REx come home live on

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About the Author:

James joined News 6 in March 2016 as the Brevard County Reporter. His arrival was the realization of a three-year effort to return to the state where his career began. James is from Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from Penn State in 2009 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.