Thursday, January 16, 2014

Send Your Name to An Asteroid

Hey Space Placers!

It has become a tradition of the space faring agencies to invite the public to submit their names online to be included on spacecraft in the form of a microchip. I have done this for several missions and have done so again for NASA's Origins-Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer, or OSIRIS-REx, spacecraft:

You can do so as well by going to this link. You can print the certificate out and you can submit as many names as you like.

OSIRIS-Rex is a mission to the Bennu asteroid that will include a two year study of the 1,760-foot space rock and a sample return to Earth of at least 60 grams of material. The submitted names will fly round trip to Bennu and back to Earth plus remain on the asteroid with the lander on a second microchip.

The mission is scheduled for launch in September 2016 and arrive at Bennu in October 2018. OSIRIS-Rex will map Bennu from orbit and eventually touchdown to begin surface operations culminating in the blast-off of the sample return capsule.

Bennu is a very interesting space rock as it belongs to a special category of asteroids - Carbonaceous C-Type, Sub-type B, all of which means the rock is primitive or unaltered and contains carbon based components. It is very dark and passes near Earth every 1.2 years. It is a Near Earth Object (NEO) and has a 1-in-1800 chance of hitting us in 2182.

Studying Bennu in its space based environment would provide much needed information on the composition, structure and orbit of Bennu. The study of the returned samples would add greatly to our knowledge of the early solar system and the composition of Bennu. Carbonaceous asteroids are of extreme interest as they contain organic (carbon-based) compounds and may have seeded early Earth with the components necessary for the development of life on Earth.

You can submit your name until September 30, 2014. You can also register at Facebook to get updates on the mission and where your name is.

Come on, be a part of space history….submit your name today.

Sky Guy's Name is Going to Bennu

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