Studying an Asteroid on Earth

  • Released Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Astrobiologists like Jason Dworkin are keenly interested in the origins of life on Earth, but the evidence that they seek was erased long ago by Earth’s geology and chemistry. Fortunately, asteroids like Bennu preserve the solar system’s earliest ingredients - including the carbon-based building blocks of life - which can be retrieved and studied by scientists in a lab on Earth. That’s why NASA is sending a spacecraft called OSIRIS-REx to explore asteroid Bennu and bring back a sample. The material collected by OSIRIS-REx will provide a wealth of data for future generations of scientists, shedding light on one of the solar system's biggest mysteries.

Learn more about the OSIRIS-REx mission to asteroid Bennu.

Learn more about the Astrobiology Analytical Laboratory at NASA Goddard.

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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Release date

This page was originally published on Tuesday, June 30, 2015.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 1:49 PM EDT.


This visualization is related to the following missions:


This visualization can be found in the following series:


This visualization originally appeared on the following tapes:
  • OSIRIS-REx Overview (ID: 2015008)
    Thursday, August 27, 2015 at 4:00AM
    Produced by - Chad Kainz (NASA)