Photo credit: NASA/Sandy Joseph and Tim Terry
The NASA OSIRIS-REx mission was successfully launched Thursday evening on its multi-year mission to scout the asteroid Bennu and retrieve a sample of that body that will be returned to Earth in 2023. The mission could reveal valuable information information about the development of the Solar System and will also provide technical and operational expertise beneficial to future scientific and commercial asteroid missions.
By a coincidence of celestial mechanics, the launch occurred on the 50th anniversary of the TV broadcast of the first episode of the original Star Trek series. So this mission began its journey to boldly go where no man-made robotic spacecraft has gone before!