The spacecraft will be equipped with scientific instruments to map the near-Earth asteroid Bennu and detection of minerals and organic compounds, which may indicate of microbial life. It is planned that the probe reaches its target in 2018, and return the samples to Earth in 2023. It will take at least 2.1 ounces of samples for study. One of the tools spacecraft spectrometer OVIRS (OSIRIS-
REx Visible and Infrared
Spectrometer) is designed to measure the visible and near-infrared light
emitted by an asteroid that will determine which chemical substances are
present in the space object.
Dante Lauretta, principal investigator for the mission at the University of Arizona, as well as other members of the team are convinced that the spectrograph OSIRIS-REX be discovered asteroid Bennu organic material. The carbon rich asteroid Bennu keeps a record of the early history of our solar system, how its composition is likely to remain unchanged from the time it was formed about four billion years ago. On this site may contain natural resources such as water, organic and precious metals. Does this mean that the asteroid Bennu can be detected and primitive forms of life? Dante Lauretta debunks this proposal. He believes that the probability of finding life in such a harsh environment of space is negligible. "We are confident that there is no Bennu microbial life. The body size of Bennu, is too small and the atmosphere of gravity in order to protect any known form of life from the ravages of space "- says Loretta.