• NASA spacecraft blasts off to collect asteroid dust

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    MIAMI: The US space agency on Thursday (Friday in Manila) launched its first mission to collect dust from an asteroid, the kind of cosmic body that may have delivered life-giving materials to Earth billions of years ago. The unmanned spacecraft, known as OSIRIS-REx, blasted off at 7:05 p.m. (23:05 GMT) atop an Atlas V rocket in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The $800-million mission will travel for two years on a journey to Bennu, a near-Earth asteroid about the size of a small mountain. Bennu was chosen from the some 500,000 asteroids in the solar system because it orbits close to Earth’s path around the sun, it is the right size for scientific study, and it is one of the oldest asteroids known to NASA.

    AFP

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