GREENBELT, Md. (NASA GODDARD) – The OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sample Return Mission is going to an asteroid to return a sample to Earth. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will launch in 2016, visit the asteroid in 2019-2020 and return a sample to Earth in 2023. Scientists will study the asteroid’s orbit, composition, and characteristics to answer questions about the early Solar System, building blocks of life, and potential impact hazards.
Instead of traveling to asteroid (1010955) 1999 RQ36, the asteroid’s current name, they’re asking for help to find a new name. The Planetary Society, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission, and the discoverers at MIT’s Lincoln Lab, will recommend selected names to the International Astronomical Union for selection.
Contest started Tuesday September 4, 2012. The deadline is Sunday December 2, 2012.