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National

NASA asteroid probe to explore origins of life

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Opening sequence

National

NASA asteroid probe to explore origins of life

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COMING UP:NASA asteroid probe to explore origins of life

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00:00:01
>> And liftoff of OSIRIS-REx.>> Off into space to collect samples from an asteroid called Bennu. A NASA probe launched aboard a rocket for a quest that hasn't been attempted before. The idea is for it then to return the samples to Earth for study.>> We're going to Bennu because it's a carbon-rich asteroid and the carbon minerals are necessary for life to begin.
00:00:27
So, we're going to Bennu to explore the origins of life as we know it here on Earth.>> Go Alice.>> Go Centaur.>> Go Cyrus Rex.>> The United Launch Alliance booster lifted off at 7:05 PM Eastern Time from Cape Canaveral.>> Perched on top of the 19-story rocket is NASAs robot explorer, OSIRIS-REx.
00:00:48
It's expected to reach the asteroid in August 2018. It'll then begin a two-year study of its physical features and chemical composition. The solar powered spacecraft will use a robot arm to collect samples.>> So, we sort of sidle up to it in a gentle gravitational dance. And then we will swoop down to the surface in very slow motion, and send out a burst of nitrogen that will blast material from the surface up into the air and into the landing cup.
00:01:21
>> The mission will take seven years and cost a billion dollars. Scientists estimate there is a 1 in 800 chance that Bennu might actually hit Earth in 166 years time.