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NASA is going to map the surface of asteroid Bennu

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft travelling to asteroid Bennu will be equipped with a variety of instruments to provide a full map of the surface.

Just as Rosetta's mission on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko will be coming to an end on September 30, NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will be making its way to the asteroid Bennu to search for the building blocks of life. This is because some believe that the ingredients for life were carried to Earth via asteroids and comets smashing into our planet.

In order to locate these elements on Bennu, OSIRIS-REx will carry equipment that will work to map the light reflected by the comet to identify different molecules. These sensors will allow scientists to locate organic material and water, and select the best site for retrieving a sample.

"OVIRS is key to our search for organics on Bennu," said principal investigator for the OSIRIS-REx mission at the University of Arizona Dante Lauretta in a statement. "In particular, we will rely on it to find the areas of Bennu rich in organic molecules to identify possible sample sites of high science value, as well as the asteroid's general composition."