Why Bennu?

  • Released Monday, December 3rd, 2018
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:46PM
  • ID: 13112

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


This visualization is related to the following missions: