OSIRIS-REx

NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission is exploring near-Earth asteroid Bennu, and preparing to retrieve a sample of the asteroid for study in laboratories on Earth. Bennu is thought to be rich in organic material left over from the formation of the solar system. Returning a sample of the asteroid will help scientists to investigate how the solar system evolved, and to better understand what materials were present during the origins of life.

Watch OSIRIS-REx videos on the mission's YouTube channel and NASA Explorer
Learn more about OSIRIS-REx from NASA and asteroidmission.org
Download the OSIRIS-REx Press Kit

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Produced Videos

  • OSIRIS-REx Touches Asteroid Bennu
    2020.10.21
    Captured on Oct. 20, during the OSIRIS-REx mission’s Touch-And-Go (TAG) sample collection event, this series of 82 images shows the SamCam imager’s field of view as the NASA spacecraft approaches and touches down on asteroid Bennu’s surface. The sampling event brought the spacecraft all the way down to sample site Nightingale, and the team on Earth received confirmation of successful touchdown at 6:08 pm EDT. Preliminary data show the sampling head touched Bennu’s surface for approximately 6 seconds, after which the spacecraft performed a back-away burn.
  • Sample Asteroid Bennu in 360
    2020.10.16
    NASA’s first asteroid sample return mission, OSIRIS-REx, will make a daring attempt to “TAG” asteroid Bennu on Oct. 20 – touch its surface and collect a sample for return to Earth. Experience the sample collection event in 360 and watch as OSIRIS-REx contacts the rocky surface of sample site Nightingale on Asteroid Bennu.
  • NASA’s Asteroid Heist: The Challenges of TAG
    2020.10.14
    NASA’s first asteroid sample return mission, OSIRIS-REx, will make a daring attempt to “TAG” asteroid Bennu on Oct. 20 – touch its surface and collect a sample for return to Earth. Sample site Nightingale, the mission’s targeted touch down spot, is only a few parking spaces wide and surrounded by building-sized boulders that pose a hazard to OSIRIS-REx. The spacecraft will carefully navigate down to the sample site with its sampling arm extended and touch Bennu’s surface for several seconds. Upon contact, the collector head will fire a bottle of nitrogen gas to agitate loose material, which is then caught in the spacecraft’s collector head. After this brief touch, OSIRIS-REx will fire its thrusters to back away from Bennu, navigating to a safe distance from the asteroid. The spacecraft will depart Bennu in 2021 and deliver the sample to Earth on Sep. 24, 2023.
  • Tour of Asteroid Bennu
    2020.10.08
    When NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft arrived at asteroid Bennu in December 2018, its close-up images confirmed what mission planners had predicted nearly two decades before: Bennu is made of loose material weakly clumped together by gravity, and shaped like a spinning top. This major validation, however, was accompanied by a major surprise. Scientists had expected Bennu’s surface to consist of fine-grained material like a sandy beach, but were instead greeted by a rugged world littered with boulders – the size of cars, the size of houses, the size of football fields. Now, thanks to laser altimetry data and high-resolution imagery from OSIRIS-REx, we can take a tour of Bennu’s remarkable terrain. Unlock the secrets of asteroid Bennu.

    Data provided by NASA/University of Arizona/CSA/York University/MDA.
  • TAG Trailer
    2020.09.24
    Music is "The Glory of Victory" by Frederik Wiedmann of Universal Production Music
  • OSIRIS-REx Meets Bennu’s Surprises
    2020.09.23
    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 days 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.
  • Meteorites from Vesta Found on Asteroid Bennu
    2020.09.21
    In an interplanetary faux pas, it appears some pieces of asteroid Vesta ended up on asteroid Bennu, according to observations from NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. The new result sheds light on the intricate orbital dance of asteroids and on the violent origin of Bennu, which is a “rubble pile” asteroid that coalesced from the fragments of a massive collision.
  • OSIRIS-REx: Above and Beyond
    2020.09.18
    Since arriving at asteroid Bennu in Dec. 2018, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission has achieved many feats – from setting a record-breaking orbit, to mapping the asteroid’s surface better than any planetary body. The mission is now preparing to collect a sample of Bennu, which will be the first time that NASA has gathered pieces of an asteroid. On Oct. 20, the OSIRIS-REx mission will perform the first attempt of its Touch-And-Go (TAG) sample collection event. Not only will the spacecraft navigate to the surface using innovative navigation techniques, but it could also collect the largest sample since the Apollo missions. The spacecraft will deliver the sample to Earth on Sep. 24, 2023.
  • How we Prepare: OSIRIS-REx and WNBA
    2020.08.13
    Natasha Cloud, a professional basketball player for the Washington Mystics of the WNBA, and Nayi Castro, a mission operations manager for NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission share how they prepare for a criticial moment in their careers. For Natasha Cloud, it is about how the team starts a new season after winning a championship. For Nayi Castro, it is about the careful preparation for the OSIRIS-REx Touch and Go maneuver (TAG) that will seek to collect a sample from asteroid Bennu and return it back to Earth. The journey is challenging and pushes each person to sustain their efforts over a long period of time to reach their goals.
  • How OSIRIS-REx will Steer Itself to Sample an Asteroid
    2020.03.09
    In late October, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will navigate to asteroid Bennu’s surface for its first sample collection attempt. To do this, it will use an onboard image software known as Natural Feature Tracking (NFT) – a form of optical navigation that is completely autonomous. NFT guides the spacecraft by comparing an onboard image catalog with the real-time navigation images it takes during descent, looking for specific landmarks on Bennu’s surface in order to orient itself. This navigation technique allows the spacecraft to accurately target small sites while dodging potential hazards.
  • OSIRIS-REx Observes a Black Hole
    2020.03.02
    University students and researchers working on a NASA mission orbiting a near-Earth asteroid have made an unexpected detection of a phenomenon 30 thousand light years away. Last fall, the student-built Regolith X-Ray Imaging Spectrometer (REXIS) onboard NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft detected a newly flaring black hole in the constellation Columba while making observations off the limb of asteroid Bennu. The glowing object turned out to be a newly flaring black hole X-ray binary – discovered just a week earlier by Japan’s MAXI telescope – designated MAXI J0637-430.
  • Asteroid Bennu: Selecting Site Nightingale
    2020.02.27
    OSIRIS-REx is a NASA mission to explore near-Earth asteroid Bennu and return a sample to Earth. Prior to arriving at Bennu, mission planners had expected the asteroid’s surface to consist largely of fine particulate material, similar to gravel. When OSIRIS-REx arrived in December 2018, however, it was greeted by a rocky world covered with boulders. This unexpected ruggedness means that there are few places on Bennu where OSIRIS-REx can safely touch down and collect a sample. After a year of studying the asteroid, the mission announced a primary sample collection site, which they designated “Nightingale,” along with a backup site called “Osprey.” In October 2020, OSIRIS-REx will descend to Bennu and attempt to collect up to four-and-a-half pounds of loose material, for return to Earth in 2023. Learn more about the selection of sample site Nightingale. In the thermal map above, asteroid Bennu’s surface temperatures dramatically change from the night side to the day side, experiencing swings of 270 degrees Fahrenheit. The time that it takes for an object to heat up or cool down is determined by its thermal inertia — a property that can be useful in the remote study of planetary bodies. Fine particulate materials like sand or gravel tend to heat up and cool down quickly (low thermal inertia), while solid objects like rocks and boulders do so more slowly (high thermal inertia). By observing how a distant body like Bennu changes temperature over the course of a day, scientists can usually infer the average size of particles on its surface. Before OSIRIS-REx arrived, scientists had observed that Bennu’s surface heats up and cools down relatively quickly, leading them to predict a mean particle size of about 2-3cm. OSIRIS-REx, however, was greeted by a predominantly rocky asteroid, littered with giant boulders. This discrepancy is one of the major surprises of the OSIRIS-REx mission.
  • NASA Science Live: OSIRIS-REx - X Marks the Spot (Episode 13)
    2019.12.12
    This episode of NASA Science Live is broadcasting live from AGU in San Francisco. We have breaking news on our satellite OSIRIS-REx which is orbiting an asteroid named Bennu - and some of its mineral fragments could be older than the solar system itself. These microscopic grains of dust could be the same ones that spewed from dying stars and eventually came together to make the Sun and its planets nearly 4.6 billion years ago. And today we'll announce the site where OSIRIS-REx will attempt to collect at least 30 sugar packets worth of dirt and rocks from Bennu's surface.
  • Sample Site Selection Trailer
    2019.12.10
    On September 8, 2016 in Cape Canaveral, Florida, OSIRIS-REx began its journey – the most ambitious sample collection mission since the Apollo Program. After two years, the spacecraft arrived at its destination, asteroid Bennu. As OSIRIS-REx drew near, Bennu grew in detail from a few tiny pixels to a surprisingly rugged world, littered with giant boulders. The spacecraft has used its instrumentation to map the asteroid from all sides. The science team has been analyzing the data to select the best sample site. Now, with just months to go before sample collection, the team has narrowed its target down to four potential sites: Osprey, Kingfisher, Nightingale, and Sandpiper. Tune in to nasa.gov/live on Thursday, December 12 at 1:00 PM EST/10:00 AM PST to see the sample site selection announcement.
  • Surprises from Asteroid Bennu
    2019.12.02
    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.
  • Bennu Orbit Insertion
    2018.12.31
    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. OSIRIS-REx will spend the Orbital A phase learning to navigate in Bennu’s low gravity, which must be balanced against other small forces acting on the spacecraft (like solar radiation pressure), and it will transition from stellar navigation to landmark-based navigation. When OSIRIS-REx completes the Orbital A phase in March 2019, it will begin its Detailed Survey of Bennu. Learn more about Bennu orbit insertion.
  • Arriving at Asteroid Bennu (Documentary)
    2018.12.03
    Asteroids are the leftover building blocks of the solar system. These remnants from the dawn of planet formation may have delivered organics and water to early Earth, and could even hold clues to the origins of life. Now, a NASA mission called OSIRIS-REx has arrived at near-Earth asteroid Bennu. It will map and study the small body in great detail, and return a piece of Bennu to Earth in 2023. The discoveries of OSIRIS-REx will shed light on our solar system’s ancient history, and help pave the way for future exploration of other small bodies.
  • Why Bennu?
    2018.12.03
    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.
  • Mission Design: Narrated Feature
    2018.12.03
    OSIRIS-REx is the third mission in NASA’s New Frontiers Program. Its goal is to explore near-Earth asteroid Bennu, a remnant from the dawn of the solar system, and to return a sample of Bennu to Earth. OSIRIS-REx launched on September 8, 2016, and arrived at asteroid Bennu on December 3, 2018. The spacecraft is spending more than a year surveying and mapping Bennu before collecting a sample, ensuring that it can safely descend to the asteroid’s surface and retrieve a sample of high science value. This 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.
  • NASA's OSIRIS-REx Approaches Asteroid Bennu
    2018.08.24
    NASA's OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission launched in 2016 and now (August, 2018) is entering its approach phase. OSIRIS-REx will arrive at asteroid Bennu in December, 2018. OSIRIS-REx will help unveil the mysteries of our solar system's formation. For more information, go to nasa.gov/osirisrex or asteroidmission.org.
  • OSIRIS-REx Launch Anniversary
    2017.09.08
    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.

    Learn more about OSIRIS-REx from NASA and the University of Arizona.
  • Searching for Earth's Trojan Asteroids
    2017.02.09
    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. Learn more about OSIRIS-REx's search for Earth Trojans. Visit OSIRIS-REx at NASA and the University of Arizona.
  • Rocket-Lovers Watch OSIRIS-REx Launch
    2016.09.09
    OSIRIS-REx launched Thursday, September 8 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.
  • Journey to Bennu Trailer
    2016.09.07
    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, when the spacecraft begins its two-year journey to Bennu aboard an Atlas V rocket at Cape Canaveral, Florida. After arriving at Bennu in 2018, OSIRIS-REx will spend over a year exploring the asteroid before approaching its surface to grab a sample. This pristine material, formed at the dawn of the solar system, will be returned to Earth in 2023, providing clues to Bennu's origins and our own.

    NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, provides overall mission management, systems engineering and safety and mission assurance for OSIRIS-REx. Dante Lauretta is the mission's principal investigator at the University of Arizona. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver built the spacecraft. OSIRIS-REx is the third mission in NASA's New Frontiers Program. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages New Frontiers for the agency's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
  • To Bennu and Back
    2016.09.06
    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. In addition, OSIRIS-REx will collect a sample from the surface of the asteroid and return it to Earth for generations of scientists to study and analyze, making this the first American asteroid sample return mission and the largest sample returned from an extraterrestrial body since Apollo. OSIRIS-REx's launch window opens September 8, 2016. This is the journey #ToBennuAndBack.
  • Mission Overview (2016)
    2016.04.29
    The OSIRIS-REx mission, launching in September 2016, plans to return a sample of asteroid Bennu to Earth in 2023 so that scientists can study pristine material left over from the early solar system. Learn more at nasa.gov/osiris-rex and asteroidmission.org.
  • OSIRIS-REx Technology: OCAMS
    2016.12.07
    NASA is sending the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to explore near-Earth asteroid Bennu, a carbon-rich body that may contain clues to the origins of life. When OSIRIS-REx arrives at Bennu in 2018, it will spend over a year orbiting the asteroid and studying it with a set of remote sensing instruments. 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. Learn more about OCAMS. Visit the OSIRIS-REx mission website.
  • OSIRIS-REx Technology: OLA
    2016.08.11
    The OSIRIS-REx mission is on a journey to study asteroid Bennu and return a sample to Earth. The OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter (OLA) will provide a three-dimensional map of the asteroid'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
    2016.07.25
    NASA is sending the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to explore near-Earth asteroid Bennu, a carbon-rich body that may contain clues to the origins of life. When OSIRIS-REx arrives at Bennu in 2018, it will spend over a year orbiting the asteroid and studying it with a suite of remote sensing instruments. The OSIRIS-REx Visible and Infrared Spectrometer, or OVIRS, will look at Bennu's spectral signature to detect organics and other minerals. After OVIRS and its fellow instruments have thoroughly surveyed Bennu, OSIRIS-REx will descend to the asteroid's surface, collect a sample, and return it to Earth in 2023.

    Learn more about the OVIRS instrument.
    Visit the OSIRIS-REx mission website.
  • OSIRIS-REx Technology: REXIS
    2016.07.11
    NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission launches in September 2016 and plans to return a sample of asteroid Bennu to Earth in 2023. This video profiles a student-built instrument aboard the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft called REXIS - the Regolith X-Ray Imaging Spectrometer. The purpose of REXIS is to collect and image fluorescent X-rays emitted by the asteroid, which will give scientists information regarding atomic elements that comprise it.
  • Student Scientists: Building REXIS
    2016.03.14
    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 that launches in September 2016. This video puts a spotlight on a group of these students and their experience on the REXIS project.

    Watch this video on the NASAgovVideo YouTube channel.

  • How Sunlight Pushes Asteroids
    2015.07.29
    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. How does this effect work?

    When sunlight strikes a rotating asteroid, the dayside heats up; as the asteroid turns, the night side cools and releases the heat, exerting a small thrust that can change the asteroid's direction over time. In order to learn more about this process on asteroid Bennu, NASA is sending a spacecraft called OSIRIS-REx to make detailed observations of Bennu's shape, brightness, and surface features. These factors are thought to influence the Yarkovsky effect, and understanding how will enable scientists to better predict the orbit of Bennu and other near-Earth asteroids.

  • Studying an Asteroid on Earth
    2015.06.30
    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.

  • Bennu's Journey
    2014.11.18
    Bennu's Journey is a 6-minute animated movie about NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission, asteroid Bennu, and the formation of our solar system. 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. The animation was produced in an 8 x 3 aspect ratio at a resolution of 5760 x 2160 and is available in its full resolution, 4K Ultra HD, 1080HD and 720HD versions in both a letter boxed and a 16 x 9 cropped format.
  • Bennu's Journey Teaser
    2014.09.23
    The solar system today is an orderly place, much quieter than it was in its turbulent youth. How did our Sun, the Earth and the planets evolve from a whirlpool of gas, dust, and fiery droplets of molten rock? To answer this question, scientists are planning to visit asteroid Bennu (1999 RQ-36), which is composed of the same raw ingredients that created the planets. Bennu is a survivor of our solar system's early chaos, and following its journey will teach us a great deal about our own origins. This video is the official teaser for Bennu's Journey, a signature animation of NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission; the full-length video will be released in November 2014.
  • Playing Tag With an Asteroid
    2014.02.04
    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 the asteroid Bennu in 2018. The collection will be done with an instrument on board called the Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism, or, TAGSAM. Learn how it works in this video.
  • Mission Overview (2013)
    2013.05.16
    OSIRIS-REx will visit a Near Earth asteroid called Bennu and return with samples that may hold clues to the origins of the solar system and perhaps life itself. It will also investigate the asteroid's chance of impacting Earth in 2182. For the mission, NASA has selected the team led by Principal Investigator Dr. Dante Lauretta from the University of Arizona. NASA GSFC will manage the mission and Lockheed Martin Space Systems will build the spacecraft. Arizona State University will supply the OTES instrument; NASA GSFC will supply the OVIRS instrument; the Canadian Space Agency will supply the OLA instrument; the University of Arizona will supply the OCAMS camera suite; Harvard/MIT will supply the REXIS instrument; and Flight Dynamics will supply the KinetX instrument.
  • OSIRIS-REx Targets Near-Earth Asteroid
    2013.02.07
    On February 15, 2013, a 45-meter asteroid called Duende (formerly 2012 DA14) passed within 28,000 kilometers of Earth - the closest approach on record for an object of this size. Although such Near-Earth Objects, or NEO's, cross our planet's orbit on a regular basis, only a handful are large enough to pose a threat. One of these objects is asteroid Bennu (formerly 1999 RQ36), a "leftover" from the formation of our solar system. In an effort to better understand NEO's and our planet's own origins, NASA is sending the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to asteroid Bennu to study the evolution of its orbit and retrieve a sample for return to Earth.

Animations

  • OSIRIS-REx TAG Event
    2020.10.19
    This media resource page provides animations of the OSIRIS-REx Touch-And-Go (TAG) event. OSIRIS-REx is NASA's first asteroid-sample return mission. Its goal is to study near-Earth asteroid Bennu and return a sample to Earth in 2023. The primary sample site for TAG is a small crater called Nightingale, which is surrounded by large boulders that could pose a hazard to the spacecraft.
  • TAG "What-If?" Scenarios
    2020.10.20
    Space exploration is notoriously difficult. Getting to the surface of an asteroid and backing away in one piece requires planning for lots of stuff that could go wrong. This resource page provides animations of various "What if?" scenarios that OSIRIS-REx could encounter on its way to the surface of asteroid Bennu.
  • Nightingale Sampling Area to Scale
    2020.09.09
    OSIRIS-REx is NASA’s first asteroid sample return mission. Its main science goal is to collect a sample of near-Earth asteroid Bennu for return to Earth in 2023. These animations show a size comparison of the planned sample collection area before arriving at Bennu (orange), and after arriving at Bennu (blue). The original mission plan envisioned a sample site with a diameter of 164 feet (50 m). However, the sampling region for site Nightingale is approximately 26 ft (8 m) in diameter. The area safe enough for the spacecraft to touch is the width of a few parking spaces.
  • Earth Return
    2016.08.17
    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 at the UTTR facility 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 Acquisition Campaign
    2016.08.17
    After nine months in orbit around asteroid Bennu, OSIRIS-REx will begin the process of maneuvering closer to the surface in preparation of the sample collection event. Once the sample site has been selected, OSIRIS-REx will break from its polar orbit to practice three flyovers of the site at increasing proximities, eventually matching Bennu's speed and rotation. The narrow-angle PolyCam will image the sample site at sub-centimeter resolution during these close passes. When OSIRIS-REx is ready, it will slowly descend to Bennu's surface at a few centimeters per second. Its outstretched arm will touch down and blow high-pressure nitrogen gas into Bennu's soil. This will force loose dust, dirt, and rocks upward into the TAGSAM head, trapping the material inside. OSIRIS-REx will then weigh and stow the captured sample for return to Earth in 2023.
  • Site Selection Campaign
    2018.11.30
    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.
  • Bennu Mapping
    2016.08.17
    OSIRIS-REx will spend over a year orbiting and mapping asteroid Bennu in preparation of the mission's main science goal – collecting a sample of Bennu for return to Earth in 2023.
  • Cruise and Arrival
    2018.11.30
    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
    2017.09.22
    OSIRIS-REx is NASA's mission to explore near-earth asteroid Bennu, collect a sample, and return it to Earth. To get to Bennu, however, OSIRIS-REx must first leave the plane of Earth's orbit and match the orbital tilt of its target. On September 22, 2017, OSIRIS-REx will approach Earth and fly over its southern hemisphere, passing within 11,000 miles of Antarctica. This gravitational slingshot will bend its trajectory by six degrees, sending the spacecraft on a path to intercept Bennu. Shortly after the flyby, OSIRIS-REx will look back at Earth and take images and spectra, ensuring that its instruments are ready for arrival at Bennu in 2018.

    Read more about the Earth gravity assist, or visit the NASA and University of Arizona mission websites.
  • Cruise Animations
    2016.08.17
    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
    2016.08.17
    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. In addition to the launch vehicle's liquid-fueled main engine, its 411 configuration includes a strap-on solid rocket booster and a Centaur upper stage. When the launch window opens on the evening of September 8, 2016, the Atlas V will lift OSIRIS-REx above the Florida coastline and propel it eastward over the night side of Earth. Fifty-nine minutes later, OSIRIS-REx will separate from the Centaur upper stage, point its solar arrays at the rising sun, and embark on its nearly two-year cruise to Bennu.
  • Graphics Resource Page
    2016.08.17
    This page contains graphics and animation resources related to near-Earth asteroid Bennu, the target of NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission.
  • Spacecraft and Instruments
    2016.08.17
    OSIRIS-REx is a solar-powered spacecraft built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems. The spacecraft bus measures 3.2 meters high by 2.4 meters wide (about 10x8 feet). With its solar arrays deployed, the spacecraft spans 6.2 meters in length (over 20 feet). A high-gain antenna on the sun-pointed side of OSIRIS-REx enables communication with Earth. On the opposite side is the TAGSAM, a 3.4-meter-long, folding arm that will reach out and grab a sample of the mission's target, near-Earth asteroid Bennu. Before collecting the sample, OSIRIS-REx will spend over a year orbiting and studying Bennu with a suite of remote sensing instruments, located on the spacecraft's main instrument deck. These include the OCAMS camera suite for spectral imaging, mapping, and navigation; the OLA laser altimeter for measuring elevation; the OTES thermal emission spectrometer for infrared mapping; the OVIRS visible and infrared spectrometer for detecting organic compounds; and the student-built REXIS X-ray spectrometer for detecting individual atomic elements. Mission planners will use this suite of instruments to determine the best location on Bennu for collecting the sample, which OSIRIS-REx will return to Earth in 2023.
  • Bennu's Journey Animations
    2014.11.18
    This page contains the frames for each of the 31 shots that comprise the movie Bennu's Journey produced for the OSIRIS-REx mission. The full movie is also available.
  • Bennu's Journey Resource Page
    2014.10.27
    This page contains desktop wallpapers and posters for the OSIRIS-REx movie, "Bennu's Journey." Check back every week for more wallpapers and posters.
  • Mission Animations (2013)
    2013.02.01
    This page contains broadcast-quality animations for the OSIRIS-REx mission.

Data Visualizations

  • OSIRIS-REx - Bennu TAG
    2020.10.15
    On Oct. 20, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will perform the first attempt of its Touch-And-Go (TAG) sample collection event. This series of maneuvers will bring the spacecraft down to site Nightingale, a rocky area 52 ft (16 m) in diameter in Bennu’s northern hemisphere, where the spacecraft’s robotic sampling arm will attempt to collect a sample. Site Nightingale was selected as the mission’s primary sample site because it holds the greatest amount of unobstructed fine-grained material, but the region is surrounded by building-sized boulders. During the sampling event, the spacecraft, which is the size of a large van, will attempt to touch down in an area that is only the size of a few parking spaces, and just a few steps away from some of these large boulders. During the 4.5-hour sample collection event, the spacecraft will perform three separate maneuvers to reach the asteroid’s surface. The descent sequence begins with OSIRIS-REx firing its thrusters for an orbit departure maneuver to leave its safe-home orbit approximately 2,500 feet (770 meters) from Bennu's surface. After traveling four hours on this downward trajectory, the spacecraft performs the “Checkpoint” maneuver at an approximate altitude of 410 ft (125 m). This thruster burn adjusts OSIRIS-REx’s position and speed to descend steeply toward the surface. About 11 minutes later, the spacecraft performs the “Matchpoint” burn at an approximate altitude of 177 ft (54 m), slowing its descent and targeting a path to match the asteroid's rotation at the time of contact. The spacecraft then descends to the surface, touches down for less than sixteen seconds and fires one of its three pressurized nitrogen bottles. The gas agitates and lifts Bennu’s surface material, which is then caught in the spacecraft’s collector head. After this brief touch, OSIRIS-REx fires its thrusters to back away from Bennu’s surface and navigates to a safe distance from the asteroid.
  • Tour of Asteroid Bennu: Visualizations
    2020.10.08
    When NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft arrived at asteroid Bennu in December 2018, its close-up images confirmed what mission planners had predicted nearly two decades before: Bennu is made of loose material weakly clumped together by gravity, and shaped like a spinning top. This major validation, however, was accompanied by a major surprise. Scientists had expected Bennu’s surface to consist of fine-grained material like a sandy beach, but instead OSIRIS-REx was greeted by a rugged world littered with boulders – the size of cars, the size of houses, the size of football fields. This video explores several interesting features of Bennu. The surface features are presented in vivid detail thanks to detailed terrain data from the OLA instrument and high resolution imagery from the PolyCam instrument.
  • Detailed Global View of Asteroid Bennu
    2020.09.21
    When NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft arrived at asteroid Bennu in December 2018, its close-up images confirmed what mission planners had predicted nearly two decades before: Bennu is made of loose material weakly clumped together by gravity, and shaped like a spinning top. This major validation, however, was accompanied by a major surprise. Scientists had expected Bennu’s surface to consist of fine-grained material like a sandy beach, but instead OSIRIS-REx was greeted by a rugged world littered with boulders – the size of cars, the size of houses, the size of football fields. The 3D animations on this page were created using laser altimetry data and imagery of Bennu taken by OSIRIS-REx. The Bennu albedo map was generated using images acquired by PolyCam during Baseball Diamond Flyby 1. The images were photometrically normalized to represent the innate albedo of Bennu’s surface. Details for the creation of the map can be found in the forthcoming publication “A High-Resolution Normal Albedo Map of Asteroid (101955) Bennu” by Golish et al. Icarus (2020). Polar regions that were not imaged in Flyby 1 are visualized using the Bennu global basemap, created from PolyCam images acquired during Baseball Diamond Flybys 3 and 4. Details for the creation of the basemap can be found in “A high-resolution global Basemap of (101955) Bennu” by Bennett et al. Icarus (2020).
  • Global Model of Asteroid Bennu
    2020.02.26
    When NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft arrived at asteroid Bennu in December 2018, its close-up images confirmed what mission planners had predicted nearly two decades before: Bennu is made of loose material weakly clumped together by gravity, and shaped like a spinning top. This major validation, however, was accompanied by a major surprise. Scientists had expected Bennu’s surface to consist of fine-grained material like a sandy beach, but instead OSIRIS-REx was greeted by a rugged world littered with boulders – the size of cars, the size of houses, the size of football fields. The main science goal of OSIRIS-REx is to briefly touch down on Bennu and collect a sample for return to Earth, but the asteroid’s unexpected roughness could pose a hazard to the spacecraft. Areas for safely touching down are fewer and smaller than anticipated, and OSIRIS-REx will have to navigate to them with unprecedented accuracy. The 3D animations on this page were created using laser altimetry data and imagery of Bennu taken by OSIRIS-REx.
  • Asteroid Bennu Sample Site Flyovers
    2019.12.12
    When NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft arrived at asteroid Bennu in December 2018, its close-up images confirmed what mission planners had predicted nearly two decades before: Bennu is made of loose material weakly clumped together by gravity, and shaped like a spinning top. This major validation, however, was accompanied by a major surprise. Scientists had expected Bennu’s surface to consist of fine-grained material like a sandy beach, but instead OSIRIS-REx was greeted by a rugged world littered with boulders – the size of cars, the size of houses, the size of football fields. The main science goal of OSIRIS-REx is to briefly touch down on Bennu and collect a sample for return to Earth, but the asteroid’s unexpected roughness could pose a hazard to the spacecraft. Areas for safely touching down are fewer and smaller than anticipated, and OSIRIS-REx will have to navigate to them with unprecedented accuracy. In mid-2019, mission planners identified four candidate sample collection sites, and named them after birds that can be found in Egypt: Osprey, Kingfisher, Nightingale, and Sandpiper. In December 2019, mission planners announced that they had selected Nightingale as the primary sample collection site, and Osprey as the backup. Late in 2020, OSIRIS-REx will descend to Bennu's surface and collect a sample of pristine material from the origins of the solar system that will be studied on Earth for decades to come. The 3D animations on this page were created using laser altimetry data and imagery of Bennu taken by OSIRIS-REx. The animations are available in Hyperwall resolution (5760x3240).
  • Asteroid Bennu Sample Site Finalists
    2019.08.12
    OSIRIS-REx is a mission to study and map near-Earth asteroid Bennu. Its primary science objective is to collect a sample of Bennu in mid 2020 and return it to Earth in late 2023. In preparation, mission planners have identified four candidate sample sites on 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. Like the mythological Bennu bird for which the asteroid is named, all of the candidate sample sites refer to birds that can be found in Egypt. Learn more about the candidate sample sites on Bennu.
  • Bennu Arrival
    2018.12.03
    After traveling through space for more than 2 years and over 2 billion kilometers, 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.
  • Orbits, Maneuvers, and Mapping
    2016.10.04
    The Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security - Regolith Explorer spacecraft will travel to a near-Earth asteroid, called Bennu (formerly 1999 RQ36), and bring at least a 2.1-ounce sample back to Earth for study. The mission will help scientists investigate how planets formed and how life began, as well as improve our understanding of asteroids that could impact Earth. OSIRIS-REx launched on Sept. 8, 2016, at 7:05 p.m. EDT. As planned, the spacecraft will reach its target asteroid in 2018 and return a sample to Earth in 2023. 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. The animations are presented in chronological order.

Mission Footage

  • NASA OSIRIS-Rex Final Command Go for TAG
    2020.10.20
    NASA OSIRIS-Rex Final Command Go for TAG 7: 29 am MDT Final commands sent to the OSIRIS REx: Go for Touch and Go (TAG) Command Sequence Location: Lockheed Martin, Mission Support Area, Littleton, Colorado Credit: Lockheed Martin
  • Science Operations Center and Mission Support Area
    2020.07.09
    This editor's resource page contains footage of the OSIRIS-REx Science Operations Center at the University of Arizona in Tucson, and of the Mission Support Area at Lockheed Martin Space in Littleton, Colorado. OSIRIS-REx is a NASA mission studying near-Earth asteroid Bennu. It will return a sample of Bennu to Earth in 2023.
  • Launch Footage
    2016.09.08
    On September 8, 2016, NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft began its journey to near-Earth asteroid Bennu. Just as the sun began to set over Cape Canaveral, OSIRIS-REx made a picture-perfect liftoff at 7:05 pm EDT. It departed Space Launch Complex 41 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 411 rocket, cheered on by crowds of mission personnel and space enthusiasts. The launch sent OSIRIS-REx on a seven-year journey to asteroid Bennu and back.

    An excerpt of the launch broadcast appears at the top of this page. Raw camera feeds from Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center appear below. These clips are intended as a video editor's resource, and are available for download in their original DVCPRO HD format. Launch commentary is provided by KSC host Mike Curie.

    Learn more about OSIRIS-REx from NASA and the University of Arizona.
  • Spacecraft Footage
    2016.09.08
    B-roll of OSIRIS-REx arriving at the Kennedy Space Center in May 2016, leading to a spin test and balance test.

Press Briefings and Interviews

  • OSIRIS-REx Science and Engineering Briefing
    2020.10.19
    NASA is hosting a media teleconference at 3 p.m. EDT Monday, Oct. 20, to provide an update on the agency’s first attempt to contact the surface of asteroid Bennu and collect a sample. The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft will travel to the asteroid’s surface during its first sample collection attempt Oct. 20. Its sampling mechanism will touch Bennu’s surface for several seconds, fire a charge of pressurized nitrogen to disturb the surface, and collect a sample before the spacecraft backs away. Participating in this mission update are: • Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate • Lori Glaze, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division • Heather Enos, OSIRIS-REx deputy principal investigator, University of Arizona, Tucson • Kenneth Getzandanner, OSIRIS-REx flight dynamics manager, Goddard • Beth Buck, OSIRIS-REx mission operations program manager, Lockheed Martin Space, Littleton, Colorado For more information, go to nasa.gov/osiris-rex or asteroidmission.org
  • OSIRIS-REx Flight Operations Interviews
    2020.10.19
    NASA’s OSRIS-REx mission is designed to study near-Earth asteroid Bennu and return a sample of Bennu to Earth in 2023. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft was built and is operated by Lockheed Martin Space in Littleton, Colorado. This editor’s resource page provides interview clips with mission personnel at Lockheed Martin Space, filmed on August 12, 2020 – one day after the Matchpoint rehearsal to prepare for sample collection at Bennu.
  • OSIRIS-REx: Countdown to TAG
    2020.09.24
    Download recorded audio from this media teleconference. (Right-click and select "Save Link As..."). NASA is hosting a media teleconference at 3 p.m. EDT Thursday, Sept. 24, to provide an update on the agency’s first attempt to contact the surface of asteroid Bennu and collect a sample next month. The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft will travel to the asteroid’s surface during its first sample collection attempt Oct. 20. Its sampling mechanism will touch Bennu’s surface for several seconds, fire a charge of pressurized nitrogen to disturb the surface, and collect a sample before the spacecraft backs away. Participating in this mission update are: • Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate • Lori Glaze, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division • Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator at the University of Arizona, Tucson • Mike Moreau, OSIRIS-REx deputy project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center • Sandra Freund, OSIRIS-REx mission operations manager at Lockheed Martin Space For more information, go to nasa.gov/osiris-rex or asteroidmission.org.
  • X Marks the Spot: 2019 AGU Press Conference
    2019.12.12
    NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission announced its primary and backup sample collection sites on asteroid Bennu, at a press conference hosted during AGU’s Fall Meeting at 2 p.m. ET, Thursday, Dec. 12. The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft launched on Sept. 8, 2016, and arrived at asteroid Bennu on Dec. 3, 2018. In mid-2020, it will briefly touch down on Bennu’s surface and collect a sample for return to Earth in late 2023. The mission represents a valuable opportunity to learn more about the origins of our solar system, the sources of water and organic molecules on Earth, and the hazards and resources in near-Earth space. The briefing participants are: Lori Glaze, director of planetary science for NASA's Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator at the University of Arizona, Tucson Dani DellaGiustina, OSIRIS-REx image processing lead scientist at the University of Arizona, Tucson Mike Moreau, OSIRIS-REx deputy project manager at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center For more information, go to nasa.gov/osirisrex or asteroidmission.org
  • 2019 LPSC Media Telecon
    2019.03.19
    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 is only slightly wider than the height of the Empire State Building and is the smallest body ever orbited by spacecraft. Studying Bennu with OSIRIS-REx will allow researchers to learn more about the origins of our solar system, the sources of water and organic molecules on Earth, and the hazards and resources in near-Earth space. The teleconference participants are: Lori Glaze, acting director, NASA’s Planetary Science Division, Washington Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator, University of Arizona, Tucson Coralie Adam, OSIRIS-REx flight navigator, KinetX, Inc. Space Navigation and Flight Dynamics, Simi Valley, Calif. Rich Burns, OSIRIS-REx project manager, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. For more information about the mission, go to nasa.gov/osirisrex or asteroidmission.org. Learn more about the big surprises at Bennu that were announced during this teleconference, and see images of the asteroid's particle plumes and its unexpectedly rugged surface.
  • Bennu Arrival: 2018 AGU Press Conference
    2018.12.10
    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, Dec. 10. The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft, which launched on Sept. 8, 2016, started asteroid science operations on Aug. 17, 2018, while still 1.4 million miles from the asteroid Bennu. Between that time and the spacecraft’s arrival at Bennu on Dec. 3, the mission made a number of discoveries about the asteroid. The mission represents a valuable opportunity to learn more about the origins of our solar system, the sources of water and organic molecules on Earth, and the hazards and resources in near-Earth space. The briefing participants are: Jeffrey Grossman, OSIRIS-REx program scientist at NASA Headquarters Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator at the University of Arizona, Tucson Amy Simon, OVIRS deputy instrument scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Michael Nolan, OSIRIS-REx science team chief at the University of Arizona, Tucson For more information, go to nasa.gov/osiris-rex or asteroidmission.org.
  • Bennu Approach: Media Telecon
    2018.08.24
    NASA is hosting a media teleconference at 2 p.m. EDT Friday, Aug. 24, to provide an update on upcoming activities related to the agency’s first mission to return a sample of an asteroid to Earth. The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft, which launched on Sept. 8, 2016, started asteroid science operations last week, began imaging asteroid Bennu for the first time, and is now preparing to conduct the necessary approach maneuvers to rendezvous with Bennu on Dec. 3. The mission represents a valuable opportunity to learn more about the origins of our solar system, the sources of water and organic molecules on Earth, and the hazards and resources in near-Earth space. The briefing participants are: Lori Glaze, acting director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator at the University of Arizona, Tucson Michael Moreau, OSIRIS-REx flight dynamics system manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Sandy Freund, OSIRIS-REx mission support area manager at Lockheed Martin Space For more information, go to nasa.gov/osiris-rex or asteroidmission.org.
  • Social Media Interviews
    2019.07.12
    This page contains interviews with personnel from the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission, edited for social media. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft launched Sept. 8, 2016, and began orbiting asteroid Bennu on Dec. 31, 2018. Its primary science objective is to study Bennu and collect a sample for return to Earth in 2023. Bennu is a carbon-rich asteroid that records the earliest history of our solar system, and which may contain the raw ingredients of life.
  • 2017 Earth Gravity Assist Live Shots
    2017.09.22

    NASA's first-ever mission to collect an asteroid sample will get a boost from Earth THIS Friday. On Friday, Sept. 22, Earth's gravity will slingshot OSIRIS-REx toward its target, a near-Earth asteroid named Bennu. Scientists believe asteroids like Bennu may have seeded Earth with the organic compounds that made life possible. OSIRIS-REx — the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security-Regolith Explorer — is a robotic mission that will map this asteroid and then collect a sample that it will send home to Earth.

    OSIRIS-REx launched last year, but because Bennu's orbit is tilted six degrees in comparison to Earth's, the spacecraft needs a boost before it can get to the asteroid. Earth's game-day assist on Sept. 22nd will position it to reach Bennu's path in 2018. One of the best ways to change the trajectory of a spacecraft (without carrying extra fuel) is by using the gravity of a planet or large moon to catapult it, and that’s exactly how our home planet will help OSIRIS-REx match the asteroid's path and speed.

    Join NASA scientists on Friday, Sept. 22, from 6:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. EST – just hours before Earth slingshots OSIRIS-REx toward asteroid Bennu – to find out why this maneuver is critical to the mission’s success, and how OSIRIS-REx could uncover the materials and processes that enabled life on Earth.

    When it arrives at Bennu next year, OSIRIS-REx will map the asteroid, study its orbit and collect samples that will be sent to Earth in 2023. There are more than half a million known asteroids in our solar system, but Bennu is an ideal candidate for closer study because of its size, composition and proximity to Earth. Bennu is an artifact of the ancient solar system, a silent witness to the titanic events in our solar system’s 4.6 billion-year history.

    ****To book a window contact: Michelle Handleman/ michelle.z.handleman@nasa.gov / 301-286-0918.****

    HD Satellite Digital Coordinates: HD Satellite Coordinates for SES2-K21/AB: SES 2, Ku-band Xp 21, Channel AB | 87.0 ° W Longitude | DL 12111.0 MHz | Horizontal Polarity | QPSK/DVB-S | FEC 3/4 | SR 13.235 Mbps | DR 18.2954 MHz | HD 720p | Format MPEG2 | Chroma Level 4:2:0 | Audio Embedded

    Suggested Questions:
    1. What is OSIRIS-REx and where is it going?
    2. Earth's gravity will slingshot OSIRIS-REx to the asteroid. How does that work?
    3. Asteroids are time capsules from the beginning of our solar system. What’s so exciting about this particular asteroid?
    4. What's it going to look like when NASA high-fives an asteroid to collect a sample?
    5. Where can we learn more?

    Extra Questions for Longer Interviews:
    1. How do you determine when and where to get the sample from Bennu?
    2. What kind of science do we hope to gain from studying Bennu, especially with samples here on Earth?
    3. What will OSIRIS-REx do that's never been done before?
    4. What will scientists do with the asteroid sample once it gets to Earth?
    5. How have previous missions helped NASA perfect the art of the gravity assist?
    6. Bennu is just one of hundreds of thousands of asteroids out there. How can studying asteroids keep us safe?

    Live Shot Details:

    Location: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Greenbelt, Maryland

    Scientists:
    Dr. Jim Garvin / NASA Goddard Chief Scientist

    Dr. Christina Richey / OSIRIS-REx Deputy Program Scientist
    Dr. Michelle Thaller/ NASA Scientist

  • OSIRIS-REx Launch Live Shots
    2016.09.06

    NASA scientists are available on Thursday, Sept. 8th from 6:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. and again 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. EDT – just hours before NASA’s FIRST-EVER asteroid sample return mission launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida – to find out why NASA is going to this asteroid, and what mysteries it might unlock about how life started on Earth and whether life could have started elsewhere in our solar system. We also have a Spanish-speaking scientist available. On Thursday September 8th at 7:05 p.m. EDT, NASA will launch the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer – or OSIRIS-REx – spacecraft that will travel to a near-Earth asteroid named Bennu. Asteroids are rocky debris left over from the dawn of our solar system 4.5 billion years ago. They’ve changed little over time, making Bennu a pristine time capsule of the building blocks of our solar system. Crews in the local Washington/Baltimore area are invited out to Goddard Space Flight Center for a launch viewing event + availability for interviews with scientists Sept 8th from 4:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. EDT at the Visitors Center. RSVP information is here.

    To book a window – contact: Michelle Handleman at michelle.z.handleman@nasa.gov. HD Satellite Coordinates for AMC9-K23AB: AMC-9 Ku-band Xp 23 Slot AB| 83.0 ° W Longitude | DL 12151.0 MHz | Horizontal Polarity | QPSK/DVB-S | FEC 3/4 | SR 13.235 Mbps | DR 18.2954 MHz | HD 720p | Format MPEG2 | Chroma Level 4:2:0 | Audio Embedded

    Suggested Questions:

    1. Later today NASA will launch its first-ever sample return mission to an asteroid. Tell us more about this mission.

    2. Could asteroids contain the chemical precursors for life on Earth and in the solar system?

    3. You have a really interesting way to “kiss the asteroid” to collect a sample. Can you show us how you’re going do that?

    4. What will scientists do with the sample once it returns to Earth?

    5. Where can we learn more?

    Live Shot Details:

    Locations:

    Cape Canaveral Air Force Station/ Cape Canaveral, Florida (from 6am-9am and 4pm-6pm)

    NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Greenbelt, Maryland (from 9am-2pm)

    Scientists:

    Dr. Jim Green / Director, NASA Planetary Science Division

    Dr. Ellen Stofan / NASA Chief Scientist

    Dr. Jim Garvin / NASA Goddard Chief Scientist

    Dr. Lucy McFadden / NASA Scientist

    Dr. Geronimo Villanueva/ NASA Scientist [Interviews in Spanish]

  • Interview Clips (2016)
    2016.08.23
    This is a resource page of broadcast-quality interview clips about the OSIRIS-REx mission. Clips are available for download in H.264 and Apple ProRes.
  • L-2 Science Briefing Graphics
    2016.09.06
    This page contains supporting graphics for the OSIRIS-REx L-2 science briefing from Kennedy Space Center on September 6, 2016. OSIRIS-REx is a NASA mission to explore asteroid Bennu and return a sample to Earth. The graphics on this page are available for download in broadcast resolution. These graphics do not include audio. Watch the OSIRIS-REx L-2 Science Briefing. To learn more, visit NASA's OSIRIS-REx website and asteroidmission.org.
  • L-2 Pre-Launch Briefing Graphics
    2016.09.06
    Graphics for the Sep 6 OSIRIS-REx pre-launch briefing
  • L-14 Press Briefing Graphics
    2016.08.17
    OSIRIS-REx is on a mission to study asteroid Bennu and return a sample to Earth. The graphics on this page were created to support the OSIRIS-REx L-14 press briefing at NASA headquarters on August 17, 2016. All videos are available for download in broadcast quality. The majority of the videos do not contain audio. Links to 4K-resolution versions appear at the bottom of the page. Watch the OSIRIS-REx L-14 press conference. Learn more about OSIRIS-REx from NASA and the University of Arizona.