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Section 5

“Of all celestial bodies within reach or view, as far as we can see, out to the edge, the most wonderful and marvelous and mysterious is turning out to be our own planet Earth.

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There is nothing to match it anywhere, not yet anyway.” —Lewis Thomas This image was taken by NavCam 1 on September 22, 2017, as our OSIRIS-REx—Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security–Regolith Explorer—spacecraft completed an Earth gravity-assist maneuver—flying close enough to our planet to steal some momentum and speed up the craft on its way asteroid Bennu. This is the view from 69,000 miles away. The purpose of our OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is to map and return samples from asteroid Bennu, a carbon-rich hunk of rock that might contain organic materials or molecular precursors to life. NavCam images will track starfields and landmarks on Bennu to determine the spacecraft position during mission operations. Image Credit: NASA
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