- NASA's OSIRIS-REx lifts off on mission to rendezvous with asteroid Bennu
- Mission managers say the launch was flawless and the spacecraft is in excellent health
Cape Canaveral, Florida (CNN)NASA on Thursday evening launched a space probe called OSIRIS-REx to chase down a dark, potentially dangerous asteroid called Bennu. The probe will take a sample of the asteroid and -- in a US space first -- bring the sample back to Earth.
Life, sort of, imitating art
Will Bennu really hit Earth?
The mission is a first for NASA but ...
• NASA's Stardust mission brought back samples of dust from Comet Wild 2.
• The GENESIS mission brought back samples of the solar wind, material ejected from the outer portion of the sun, in 2004.
• And NASA has landed on an asteroid before: The NEAR-Shoemaker mission touched down on asteroid Eros in 2000. It's still there. But it didn't send back any samples.