In less than a month, NASA will launch the first U.S. spacecraft destined to rendezvous with, study and return a sample of an asteroid. Ahead of this mission, which will yield the largest sample returned from space since the Apollo era, NASA invites media and social media to attend a behind-the-scenes tour of NASA’s Astrobiology Analytical Laboratory.

This media opportunity will be held at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. EDT on Friday, Aug. 19.

The laboratory, located in the Maryland suburbs just outside Washington, is dedicated to the study of organic compounds derived from stardust and future sample return missions, meteorites, lab simulations of Mars, interstellar, protoplanetary, and cometary ices and grains, and instrument development.

Attendees will also have interview opportunities with NASA planetary scientists, receive an overview of the entire OSIRIS-REx mission, and hear about the Maryland-provided instrument on the spacecraft.

The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft, about the size of an SUV, will launch Sept. 8 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on its mission to study, in detail, an asteroid called Bennu. The mission represents a valuable opportunity to learn more about the origins of our solar system, the sources of water and organic molecules on Earth, and the hazards and resources in near-Earth space.

To attend the event, potential participants must be U.S. citizens or green card holders and email their name, media affiliation or social media account names to Aries Keck at by noon EDT Tuesday, Aug. 16.

For more information about OSIRIS-Rex, visit: