Why Bennu?

  • Released Monday, December 3, 2018
View full credits

The goal of the OSIRIS-REx mission is to collect a sample from an asteroid and bring it back to Earth. But just how did the OSIRIS-REx team choose Bennu from the over 500,000 known asteroids in the solar system? Watch this cartoon to find out!

Music provided by Killer Tracks: "Cheeky Chappy" - James Patrick Kaleth & Ross Andrew McLean.

Watch this video on the NASA Goddard YouTube channel.

This animated feature takes a fun look at how asteroid Bennu was chosen as the target for the OSIRIS-REx mission. Starting in 2008, from a field of over 500,000 known asteroids, scientists went through a process to narrow the choices down to 5 final candidates. The selection criteria was based on an asteroid’s proximity to Earth, its orbit and size, and its chemical composition.
Bennu is a B-type asteroid with an approximately 500-meter diameter. It completes an orbit around the Sun every 436.604 days (1.2 years) and every 6 years it comes very close to Earth, within 0.002 AU. Bennu’s size, primitive composition, and potentially hazardous orbit make it one of the most fascinating and accessible near-Earth objects, and the ideal target for the OSIRIS-REx mission. For more details, visit the OSIRIS-REx website at asteroidmission.org.


Please give credit for this item to: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Music provided by Killer Tracks

Release date

This page was originally published on Monday, December 3, 2018.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 1:46 PM EDT.


This visualization is related to the following missions: