NASA’s OSIRIS-REx (Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security – Regolith Explorer) mission’s goal is to visit the asteroid Bennu and return with samples. This will be the first of this type of mission in NASA history.

I routinely join NASA live chats, Reddit AMAs and social media discussions whenever I can make the time. In this case, I managed to get a Twitter question read at the pre-launch news conference.

Richard Kuhns, Lockheed Martin program manager for OSIRIS-REx: I think that the thing that one: I’m most appreciative of and then two: that I’m looking forward to the most. I’m most appreciative of all the people who have had a chance to work on the mission and get us to today. So, it’s been an amazing journey. I know that at our peak, just us alone, we had 900 different people touching the satellite in a given month. And that’s pretty impressive. So, it took a lot to get here.

And in terms of what I’m looking forward to the most. I think it’s developing that understanding of what we don’t know. Bringing back a sample — Dante actually probably brought it up and it’s something that stuck with me — the fact that we’re going to have sample material here on earth that we can experiment on with techniques, with people, with instrumentation that nobody’s even thought of yet, in the future is something that’s phenomenal and it’s something that’s unique to sample return missions. So, that’s what I’m looking forward to the most.

You can watch the full interview here. The question I asked is at 47:33 (and, no, that’s not how you pronounce my last name, but I’m just happy that they read my question so I don’t care. That’s closer than most people get, anyway):

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