Mary Nichols
Design & Trend
April 11, 2014

ast2NASA’s planned mission to take samples from a passing asteroid and return them to Earth cleared a major technical review, allowing engineers to begin building the robotic spacecraft, officials said on Thursday.

The $800 million mission, known as OSIRIS-Rex, has a planned launch date in September 2016 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, according to Reuters.

The mission’s spacecraft would rendezvous with asteroid 1999 RQ36, nicknamed Bennu, in 2018. Once there, the spacecraft would carry out mapping and surveys, then use a robotic arm to collect samples for return in 2023.

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