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Here’s How to Watch as NASA Attempts to Grab a Sample From an Asteroid

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Touchdown

NASA is about to send its OSIRIS-REx spacecraft down to the surface of Bennu, a small near-Earth asteroid about 500 meters across, to scoop up a sample and bring it home.

OSIRIS-REx has already started making its approach and will make its sample collection at Bennu around 6:12 pm Eastern time today. Luckily, NASA is providing us with live coverage of the event, starting at 5pm.

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All For the Gram

The site the spacecraft is targeting is about the size of a tennis court, surrounded by gigantic boulders. It’s aiming to obtain at least 50 grams worth of Bennu space rubble.

OSIRIS-REx has been sending back tantalizing information about the space rock. Most recently, researchers found evidence that ancient rivers flowed on its parent body, likely a much larger planetoid or proto-planet, a discovery hailed as “major scientific triumph” for NASA’s mission.

Scientists are expecting to confirm this discovery once the spacecraft’s samples make it back to Earth — if all goes according to plan — in 2023.

READ MORE: Watch NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Attempt to Capture a Sample of Asteroid Bennu [NASA]

More on Bennu: NASA Spacecraft Finds Evidence of Ancient Rivers on Asteroid

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