The Postal Service will celebrate NASA’s OSIRIS-REx asteroid mission with the release of a new stamp on Sept. 22.
The seven-year OSIRIS-REx mission — to send a spacecraft to the asteroid Bennu, collect material from its surface and return the sample to Earth — will give scientists a window into the time when the sun and planets were created.
Asteroids are rocky leftover debris from the formation of the solar system billions of years ago. They may contain chemical signatures of the ancestral building blocks of life.
OSIRIS-REx is an acronym for the mission’s goals: Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security-Regolith Explorer.
On Sept. 24, the spacecraft is expected to fly by Earth and release its capsule of asteroid dust and rocks, allowing it to land by parachute in the Utah desert.
Scientists from all over the world will study the sample.
The stamp art depicts the capsule containing the sample parachuting to Earth. The images on the pane illustrate the milestones in the OSIRIS-REx mission.
Antonio Alcalá, an art director for USPS, designed the stamp and pane using illustrations by Alan Dingman, who based his work on images supplied by NASA.
The Forever stamp will be available in panes of 20 at Post Offices and usps.com.