NASA is sending a spacecraft called OSIRIS-REx to explore near-Earth asteroid Bennu and retrieve a pristine sample of the asteroid for study in laboratories on Earth. Because asteroid Bennu is thought to be rich in organic material left over from the formation of the solar system, returning a sample will help scientists investigate how the solar system evolved and what materials were available for the origins of life. Scientists think that Bennu formed farther from the Sun than its current location and slowly migrated inward due to solar heating. OSIRIS-REx will observe how solar heating continues to shape Bennu's orbit today, allowing scientists to better predict its future trajectory.

Watch OSIRIS-REx videos on 321Science! and NASA Explorer.
Learn more about OSIRIS-REx from NASA and the University of Arizona.
Download the OSIRIS-REx Press Kit.

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  • Surprises from Asteroid Bennu
    The OSIRIS-REx team has already pushed the boundaries of scientific exploration -- going from ground-based radar images from Arecibo in Puerto Rico all the way to orbiting a few hundred meters from asteroid Bennu. The team is mere months away from a sample collection attempt at the asteroid surface. Before this attempt, we take a look back at some of the major achievements, surprises and challenges of sampling an asteroid with OSIRIS-REx.
  • Asteroid Bennu Sample Site Finalists
    Mission planners have identified four candidate sample collection sites on asteroid Bennu's rocky surface where OSIRIS-REx could briefly touch down to collect its sample. The mission will down-select to the final two sites – a primary and a backup – in December 2019.
  • OSIRIS-REx Social Media Interviews
    This page contains interviews with personnel from the OSIRIS-REx mission, edited for social media.
  • Bennu Revealed: NASA Media Teleconference
    NASA hosted a media teleconference at 1:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday, March 19, to announce new science from the agency’s first mission to return to Earth an asteroid sample that may contain unaltered material from the very beginning of our solar system. The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft launched Sept. 8, 2016, and began orbiting the asteroid Bennu on Dec. 31, 2018. Since its arrival at Bennu, the probe has been investigating the asteroid and searching for an ideal site for sample collection.
  • Bennu Orbit Insertion
    On December 31, 2018, OSIRIS-REx completed its Preliminary Survey of asteroid Bennu and entered into orbit. Bennu measures only half a kilometer in diameter, making it the smallest world ever to be orbited by a spacecraft. When OSIRIS-REx completes the Orbital A phase in March 2019, it will begin its Detailed Survey of Bennu.
  • 2018 AGU Press Conference: Presenter Graphics
    NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission presented the science results gained during the spacecraft’s approach toward the asteroid Bennu at a press conference hosted during AGU’s Fall Meeting at 2 p.m. ET, Monday, December 10, 2018. This page contains graphics from the press conference for download, including images of Bennu taken during approach.
  • Bennu Arrival
    After traveling through space for more than 2 years and over 2 billion miles, NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft arrived at its destination, asteroid Bennu, on Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. The spacecraft will spend almost a year surveying the asteroid with five scientific instruments with the goal of selecting a location that is safe and scientifically interesting to collect the sample. OSIRIS-REx will return the sample to Earth in September 2023.
  • Arriving at Asteroid Bennu (Documentary)
    OSIRIS-REx will shed light on our solar system’s ancient history, and help pave the way for future exploration of other small bodies in addition to asteroid Bennu. In this short documentary, members of the OSIRIS-REx team capture the excitement of arriving at Bennu and look forward to the discoveries ahead.
  • OSIRIS-REx Mission Design: Narrated Video
    This narrated video illustrates the OSIRIS-REx Mission Design in detail, through artist concept animations, data visualizations, launch footage, and imagery from the spacecraft itself. Each phase of the mission is depicted, from launch through sample return, providing an in-depth look at this journey to Bennu and back.
  • Why Bennu?
    This animated feature takes a fun look at how asteroid Bennu was chosen as the target for the OSIRIS-REx mission. 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.
  • OSIRIS-REx Mission Design: Site Selection Campaign
    Once OSIRIS-REx has completed its Preliminary Survey of Bennu and entered orbit, it will be ready to study the asteroid in greater detail. Its observations will help mission planners to identify candidate sample sites on Bennu – areas where it is safe to collect a sample, and which are of interest to scientists. During this phase, OSIRIS-REx will: scan Bennu from pole-to-pole, globally map its surface, take high-resolution images, and study its spectra to determine the asteroid’s mineral composition.
  • OSIRIS-REx Mission Design: Cruise and Arrival Animations
    After launching from Earth on September 8, 2016, OSIRIS-REx spent over two years on its outbound cruise to asteroid Bennu. It approached the asteroid in August 2018 and captured the first visible-light images of Bennu using its long-range camera, PolyCam. OSIRIS-REx officially arrived at Bennu on December 3, 2018, and began studying the asteroid in preparation for sample collection in 2020.
  • Earth Gravity Assist Animations
    On September 22, 2017, OSIRIS-REx approached Earth and flew over its southern hemisphere, passing within 11,000 miles of Antarctica. This gravitational slingshot bent the spacecraft's trajectory by six degrees, sending it on a path to intercept near-Earth asteroid Bennu. Shortly after the flyby, OSIRIS-REx looked back at Earth and took images and spectra, calibrating its instruments for arrival at Bennu in 2018. This page contains animations of the Earth gravity assist and OSIRIS-REx's cruise to asteroid Bennu.
  • Earth Gravity Assist TV Live Shots
    On September 22, 2017, OSIRIS-REx approached Earth and flew over its southern hemisphere, receiving a gravitational slingshot from our planet in order to get to asteroid Bennu. On the morning of the flyby, NASA broadcast TV interviews with Goddard Chief Scientist Jim Garvin, OSIRIS-REx Deputy Program Scientist Christina Richey, and NASA Scientist Michelle Thaller. This page contains recorded interviews and graphics related to the flyby.
  • OSIRIS-REx Launch Anniversary
    On September 8, 2016, NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft began its journey to near-Earth asteroid Bennu. As the sun began to set over Cape Canaveral, OSIRIS-REx made a picture-perfect liftoff from pad 41 aboard an Atlas V rocket, cheered on by crowds of mission personnel and space enthusiasts. This video revisits the launch with interviews and highlights from Kennedy Space Center, as OSIRIS-REx continues its seven-year journey to Bennu and back.
  • Searching for Earth's Trojan Asteroids
    Trojan asteroids accompany several of our solar system's planets, leading or trailing the planet in its orbit at the L4 and L5 Lagrange points. Detecting our own planet's Trojan asteroids from Earth is difficult because they appear close to the sun from our perspective. In mid-February 2017, NASA's OSIRS-REx mission will search for these elusive objects when the spacecraft passes by Earth's L4 Lagrange point, en route to asteroid Bennu in 2018.
  • Rocket-Lovers Watch OSIRIS-REx Launch
    OSIRIS-REx launched on Thursday, September 8, 2016 at 7:05PM on an Atlas V rocket on a journey to study asteroid Bennu and return a sample to Earth. Thousands of visitors watched the launch, some of whom were part of a NASA Social event.
  • OSIRIS-REx Launch Footage
    On September 8, 2016, NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft launched from pad 41 at Cape Canaveral, beginning its journey to near-Earth asteroid Bennu. This page contains an excerpt of the launch broadcast on NASA-TV, as well as the raw camera feeds from Kennedy Space Center. The footage is available in its original DVCPRO HD format, and is intended to provide a video editor's resource.
  • Journey to Bennu Trailer
    NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is on a mission to explore asteroid Bennu and return a sample to Earth. The OSIRIS-REx launch window opens on September 8, 2016.
  • To Bennu and Back
    NASA's latest New Frontiers mission, OSIRIS-REx, will venture to a near-Earth asteroid to discover clues about the unique resources asteroids hold, processes that affect asteroids' orbital paths and their potential for impacting Earth, and the origins of life in the solar system.
  • Launch Day TV Live Shots
    NASA Goddard Chief Scientist Dr. Jim Garvin talks about the OSIRIS-REx mission and its goal to help scientists better understand asteroids and the origins of our solar system. The interviews on this page were recorded during TV live shots for the OSIRIS-REx launch on September 8, 2016.
  • Graphics Resource Page
    Graphics and animation resources related to near-Earth asteroid Bennu, the target of NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission.
  • Sample Return Capsule Animations
    In late 2023, OSIRIS-REx will return its sample of asteroid Bennu to Earth. The sample return capsule will detach from the spacecraft, perform an entry, descent and landing sequence, and touch down in Utah. Samples of Bennu will be taken to Johnson Space Center in Houston for curation, and will be studied by scientists around the world for decades to come.
  • Sample Collection Animations
    After nine months in orbit around asteroid Bennu, OSIRIS-REx will begin the process of maneuvering closer to the surface in preparation for the sample collection event.
  • Bennu Mapping Animations
    OSIRIS-REx will spend over a year orbiting and mapping asteroid Bennu in preparation for the mission's main science goal – collecting a sample of Bennu for return to Earth in 2023.
  • Orbits, Maneuvers, and Mapping Animations
    The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will make an arcing path, known as a transfer orbit, from Earth to asteroid Bennu. Once it arrives, OSIRIS-REx will enter orbit to study the asteroid and collect a sample for return to Earth. These animations depict the journey of OSIRIS-REx to Bennu and back, including the complex maneuvers that the spacecraft will perform in the asteroid's low-gravity environment.
  • Cruise to Bennu Animation
    After leaving Earth in September 2016, OSIRIS-REx will spend two years traveling to asteroid Bennu. In 2017 it will fly by Earth for a gravity assist, putting the spacecraft in the right orbital inclination to rendezvous with Bennu in late 2018.
  • Launch and Deployment Animations
    OSIRIS-REx begins its journey to near-Earth asteroid Bennu from Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral, aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
  • Spacecraft and Instrument Animations
    Animations of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft and its full suite of science instruments.
  • Spacecraft Footage
    B-roll of OSIRIS-REx arriving at the Kennedy Space Center in May 2016 and undergoing launch processing.
  • Interview Clips
    Resource page of broadcast-quality interview clips about the OSIRIS-REx mission.
  • L-2 Science Briefing Graphics
    Supporting graphics for the OSIRIS-REx L-2 Science Briefing from Kennedy Space Center on September 6, 2016.
  • L-2 Pre-Launch Briefing Graphics
    Graphics for the September 6 OSIRIS-REx pre-launch briefing.
  • L-14 Press Briefing Graphics
    Graphics created to support the OSIRIS-REx L-14 press briefing at NASA headquarters on August 17, 2016.
  • Mission Overview with Dante Lauretta
    OSIRIS-REx Principal Investigator Dante Lauretta discusses the science value and engineering risks of this ambitious sample return mission, and NASA's interest in near-Earth asteroids.
  • OSIRIS-REx Technology: OCAMS
    The OSIRIS-REx Camera Suite, or OCAMS, will provide high-resolution images of Bennu, allowing OSIRIS-REx to map the asteroid, determine its mineralogy, and even take close-up pictures of the surface at less than a centimeter per pixel. After OCAMS and its fellow instruments have thoroughly surveyed Bennu, OSIRIS-REx will carry out its most important task: collecting a sample of the asteroid for return to Earth in 2023. SamCam, the suite's wide-angle camera, will allow OSIRIS-REx to capture this dramatic event.
  • OSIRIS-REx Technology: OLA
    The OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter (OLA) will provide a three-dimensional map of asteroid Bennu's shape, which will allow scientists to understand the context of the asteroid's geography and the sample location. OLA is provided by the Canadian Space Agency in exchange for Canadian ownership of a portion of the returned asteroid sample.
  • OSIRIS-REx Technology: OVIRS
    The OSIRIS-REx Visible and Infrared Spectrometer (OVIRS) will look at asteroid Bennu's spectral signature to detect organics and other minerals. Spectral data will help mission scientists determine the best location for OSIRIS-REx to collect a sample of Bennu.
  • OSIRIS-REx Technology: REXIS
    The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft carries a student-built instrument called REXIS - the Regolith X-Ray Imaging Spectrometer. The purpose of REXIS is to collect and image fluorescent X-rays emitted by asteroid Bennu, which will give scientists information regarding the atomic elements that comprise it.
  • Student Scientists: Building REXIS
    College students in Boston are getting the chance to help NASA explore an asteroid. These student scientists have built an instrument called REXIS which will fly on the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. This video puts a spotlight on a group of these students and their experience on the REXIS project.
  • How Sunlight Pushes Asteroids
    Near-Earth asteroids like Bennu pose a potential danger to our planet, so it's important to predict their orbits with great accuracy. Unfortunately, a phenomenon called the Yarkovsky effect can make these predictions difficult over long time periods. Measuring the Yarkovsky effect at Bennu is one of the objectives of NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission.
  • Studying an Asteroid on Earth
    Astrobiologists are keenly interested in the origins of life on Earth, but the evidence 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. Retrieving a sample of asteroid Bennu is the top priority of NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission.
  • Asteroid Bennu's Journey
    Born from the rubble of a violent collision, hurled through space for millions of years, asteroid Bennu has had a tough life in a rough neighborhood - the early solar system. Bennu's Journey shows what is known and what remains mysterious about the evolution of Bennu and the planets. By retrieving a sample of Bennu, OSIRIS-REx will teach us more about the raw ingredients of the solar system and our own origins.
  • Bennu's Journey Animations
    This resource page for media producers contains the animation frames for each shot of the movie Bennu's Journey. The frames are available in their original Ultra HD widescreen resolution (5760x2160).
  • Bennu's Journey Movie Posters
    This page contains desktop wallpapers and movie posters for Bennu's Journey, available for download in HD and print resolution.
  • Bennu's Journey Teaser
    This page contains the teaser for Bennu's Journey.

    How did our Sun, the Earth, and the planets evolve from a whirlpool of gas, dust, and fiery droplets of molten rock into the orderly system that we observe today? To answer this question, scientists are sending a spacecraft called OSIRIS-REx to explore asteroid Bennu, a survivor of our solar system's turbulent past. Follow Bennu's Journey, and learn more about our own.
  • Playing Tag With an Asteroid
    What’s the best way get a sample of an asteroid? Play tag with it! That’s the plan for OSIRIS-REx, a NASA spacecraft that will approach asteroid Bennu in 2018. The spacecraft will collect a sample from the asteroid with an instrument called the Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism, or TAGSAM. Learn how it works in this video.
  • Mission Overview (2013)
    NASA is sending a spacecraft called OSIRIS-REx to explore 101955 Bennu, a near-Earth asteroid containing material from the dawn of the solar system. Scientists think that Bennu is rich in organics - the carbon-based building blocks of life - and may hold clues to the origins of the solar system and the evolution of our planet.
  • Targeting a Near-Earth Asteroid
    On February 15, 2013, a 45-meter asteroid called Duende passed within 28,000 kilometers of Earth - closer than many satellites, and the closest approach on record for an object of this size. In an effort to better understand Near Earth Objects and our planet's own origins, NASA is sending the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to another near-Earth asteroid called Bennu. OSIRIS-REx will study the evolution of Bennu's orbit and retrieve a sample of the asteroid for return to Earth.
  • OSIRIS-REx Animations (2013)
    This page contains broadcast-quality animations for the OSIRIS-REx mission.