Members of the public and the media are invited to celebrate the launch of NASA's OSIRIS-REx sample return mission to an asteroid, on Thursday, Sept. 8, at 5:30 p.m. This free event will be held at the NASA Goddard Visitor Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and is open to the public.
OSIRIS-REx will travel to the near-Earth asteroid Bennu, investigate it in detail, and collect a sample of surface material to return to Earth for study. Scientists expect that Bennu holds clues to the origin of the solar system and the source of the water and organic molecules that may have made their way to Earth. The mission also will investigate how pressure from sunlight influences the path of this traveling asteroid, providing new insight into how the orbits of near-Earth asteroids change over time.
The spacecraft is scheduled to launch on Sept. 8 at 7:05 p.m. EDT aboard an Atlas V 411 rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The celebration at the Goddard Visitor Center will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. and will include presentations by NASA scientists, viewing of launch coverage on NASA TV, activities and exhibits. Be sure to visit the Astrobiology Walk to put OSIRIS-REx into context with the rest of astrobiology. You can also see the Solarium, an innovative video experience that surrounds you with mesmerizing imagery of the sun from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. And spend time in the Science on a Sphere auditorium to see dramatic, full-motion views of Earth and other planets on a special globe-shaped screen.
No registration is needed for the public.
Members of the media who want to attend the event should email their name, media affiliation or social media account names to Elizabeth Zubritsky at Elizabeth.A.Zubritsky@nasa.gov by 5 p.m. Sept. 6.
For directions to the Goddard Visitor Center, go to:
For more information about the OSIRIS-REx mission, visit: