07/22/2014 10:33 EDT | Updated 07/22/2014 10:59 EDT

Canada A Big Part Of NASA Mission To Bring Back Part Of Asteroid Bennu

Canada will be a crucial player in a NASA-led mission to bring back pieces of an asteroid that is on a possible collision course towards Earth.

Almost $9 million in government funding was announced Thursday to build the mapping system, called the OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter, which will create 3D maps of the asteroid. The unmanned mission will leave earth for the asteroid in 2016.

Check out the video below to find out why Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield thinks this project is so important.