How did our solar system form? Could asteroids contain the chemical precursors for life on Earth and in the solar system? On Thursday, Sept. 8 at 7:05 p.m. EDT, NASA will launch its first-ever mission to return samples from an asteroid for study here on Earth. NASA Goddard is offering television stations live-shot interviews with scientists during the day.

NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security and Regolith Explorer – or OSIRIS-REx – spacecraft will travel to a near-Earth asteroid named Bennu. Asteroids are rocky debris left over from the dawn of our solar system 4.5 billion years ago. The material on the asteroid hasn’t changed much over time, making Bennu a pristine time capsule of the building blocks of our solar system. OSIRIS-REx will bring back the largest sample from space since the Apollo era.

Join NASA scientists on Thursday, Sept. 8 from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. EDT and again 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. EDT – just hours before this historic mission launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. They will explain why NASA is going to this asteroid, what the mission will tell us about the origin of the solar system, and what we might learn about the building blocks of life on Earth and potentially elsewhere in our solar system. Scientists also will discuss how OSIRIS-REx will contribute to our understanding of the hazards and resources of near-Earth space.

Scientists think carbon-rich asteroids like Bennu may have seeded early Earth with organic compounds needed for life to develop. The OSIRIS-REx probe will take a sample from the mountain-sized asteroid and return the sample to Earth in 2023. The sample will be available for study by scientists around the world for generations to come.

To book a window contact: Michelle Handleman /, Tel. 301-286-0918.

HD Satellite Coordinates for AMC9-K23AB: AMC-9 Ku-band Xp 23 Slot AB|
83.0 ° W Longitude | DL 12151.0 MHz | Horizontal Polarity | QPSK/DVB-S | FEC
3/4 | SR 13.235 Mbps | DR 18.2954 MHz | HD 720p | Format MPEG2 | Chroma
Level 4:2:0 | Audio Embedded

Suggested Questions:

Later today NASA will launch its first-ever sample return mission to an asteroid. Tell us more about this mission.

Could asteroids contain the chemical precursors for life on Earth and in the solar system?

You have a really interesting way to “high-five” the asteroid to collect a sample. Can you show us how you’re going do that?

What will scientists do with the sample once it returns to Earth?
Where can we learn more?

Live Shot Details:
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station/ Cape Canaveral, Florida (from 6am-9am and 4pm-6pm)
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Greenbelt, Maryland (from 9am-2pm)

Dr. Ellen Stofan / NASA Chief Scientist
Dr. Jim Green / Director, NASA Planetary Science Division
Dr. Jim Garvin / NASA Goddard Chief Scientist
Dr. Lucy McFadden / NASA Scientist
Dr. Geronimo Villanueva/ NASA Scientist [Interviews in Spanish]

Video: Stations can roll a clean feed of b-roll video during live shot windows Sept. 8, 2016, at the above listed satellite.

Canned interviews and b-roll will be available starting Wednesday, Sept. 7 at 6:00 p.m. EDT at:

For more information about the OSIRIS-Rex Mission, visit: and on Twitter @OSIRISREx

Michelle Handleman
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.