The day is finally here. NASA’s OSIRIS-REx will fly down to the surface of asteroid Bennu to collect a sample of soil from an asteroid. Although Bennu is the third spacecraft in history to do this, it is the first NASA mission of its kind – and the excitement is certainly palpable.
The spacecraft is 333 million kilometers (207 million miles) from Earth, which means signals from there and back will take about 36 minutes. NASA will broadcast OSIRIS-REx's multi-hour descent towards the asteroid and its sample collection on their mission website at 1:20 pm EDT.
The live-stream will include animations of what the spacecraft is doing as well as highlight the many challenges the spacecraft has to face before reaching the surface and the actual Touch-And-Go (TAG) event.
From 5 pm EDT, NASA TV will broadcast live from Lockheed Martin where OSIRIS-REx's principal investigator Dante Lauretta and Michelle Thaller, a science communicator at Goddard, will cover the crucial 90 minutes of the Touch-And-Go event.
The actual sample collection is expected to begin at 6:12 EDT. You can watch it here: