NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft on Monday began its journey away from the Bennu asteroid on a mission to drop off an asteroid sample on planet earth.
But the journey will take some time as the craft is not slated to drop the sample capsule off until 2023.
"After orbiting the Sun twice, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is due to reach Earth Sept. 24, 2023. Upon return, the capsule containing pieces of Bennu will separate from the rest of the spacecraft and enter Earth's atmosphere," according to NASA. "The capsule will parachute to the Utah Test and Training Range in Utah's West Desert, where scientists will be waiting to retrieve it."
The craft reached the asteroid in 2018 and proceeded to fly near and around the object for a period of time before eventually obtaining a sample from the asteroid in the fall of 2020, according to the Associated Press. The craft was already almost 200 miles away from the asteroid on Monday when the engines propelled it on its journey.