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Canadian lidar ready for asteroid sampling mission

A Canadian laser altimeter, a sophisticated laser-ranging device known as lidar, will be heading for a carbon-rich asteroid next month on NASA's OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission.

The Canadian Space Agency provided the instrument, which will scan the surface of the asteroid Bennu to create a 3D model and provide mission scientists with data on the asteroid’s shape, topography, surface processes and evolution.

The mission’s launch window begins on 8 September, and the spacecraft carrying the instrument will arrive at Bennu in 2018. It will then collect around 60g of material from the asteroid’s surface, without landing, and return it to Earth in 2023.

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