Forty-five years ago today, Apollo 11 launched from Kennedy Space Center on humanity's first crewed mission to the surface of the moon. This view of Earth was captured from Apollo soon after translunar injection, just as the spacecraft was breaking away from our planet's orbit.
NASA has a plan to better explore how our own local star system, and life within it, got started. It wants to intercept, study, and sample a passing asteroid. The only thing more impressive than this mission's astronomical level of precision is how the space agency somehow shoehorned "Origins Spectral Interpretation…
Meet OSIRIS-REx, the NASA probe with the kingly name, which will be the first craft to visit an asteroid and bring pieces back to Earth. The probe, whose name stands for Origins Spectral-Interpretation Resource-Identification Security Regolith Explorer, launches in 2016.