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Asteroid samples

US space agency NASA has launched nation’s first mission that will visit an asteroid and bring precious samples back to Earth. The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft lifted off atop an Atlas V rocket at 7:05 p.m. EDT (2305 GMT) as planned from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, Xinhua news agency reported. The $800 million mission’s main goal is to collect a small sample of rocks and surface soil from Bennu, thought to harbour primordial material left over from the formation of the solar system 4.5b years ago.

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