The mission to collect samples from the asteroid 1999 RQ36 is scheduled to launch in 2016, and will return to earth in 2023.

The University of Arizona's "Osirians" have begun work on the decade and a half quest to go after and bring back to Earth a 2-ounce sample of an asteroid.

NASA has awarded the university and others $800 million for the research work. The work could help bring more knowledge to the Earth's origins among its hundreds of experiments.

Target for the mission, scheduled to launch in September 2016, is an asteroid called 1999-RQ-36.

An update on the mission is on tonight's Arizona Illustrated.