>> NASA preparing the launch of a robotic satellite this week that will chase down and collect samples from one of our solar system's oldest asteroids. Its mission, bring back chunks of pristine rock that scientists hope will contain the building blocks of life.>> We're really interested in what were those original inventory of materials, the seeds of life that these carbon rich asteroids and comets may have brought to the surface.
>> The fact that we're going to have sample material here on Earth that we can experiment on with instrumentation that nobody's even thought of yet in the future is something that's phenomenal and it's something that's unique to sample return missions.>> It will take two years for the spacecraft dubbed OSIRIS-REx to reach the asteroid Bennu, which scientists believe has traveled through space untouched for the last 4.5 billion years.
But scientists aren't just interested in what Bennu can tell us about how life started, they also wanna know about how it could end. Bennu flies by Earth every 6 years and there's 1 in 2,700 chance it will hit Earth as soon as the year 2175. So OSIRIS-REx will study what might alter Bennu's orbit, like warming from the Sun and the Earth's gravitational pull.
The space craft is scheduled to launch Thursday from Cape Canaveral, Florida. NASA hopes to retrieve the findings of a OSIRIS-REx in the Utah desert seven years later.