Transcripts of OSIRIS-REx

[ music ] If you want to study a piece of the early solar system in a lab on Earth, what do you do? To better understand the evolution of our solar system, NASA is sending the Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer, or OSIRIS-REx, to study a Near Earth asteroid called Bennu. OSIRIS-REx will launch in 2016 and arrive at Bennu in 2018, where it will spend over a year surveying the asteroid in unprecedented detail, determining its chemical makeup, mineralogy, and geologic history. The OSIRIS-REx payload contains several instruments for remote sensing observations, including high resolution cameras, LIDAR, and X-ray, visible light, and infrared spectrometers. Knowing the physical properties of Bennu will help scientists to refine its orbit over time, including deviations caused by heating and cooling from sunlight, and it will allow them to pick a site for OSIRIS-REx's primary mission: retrieving a sample of the asteroid for study on Earth. In 2019, OSIRIS-REx will deploy its Touch And Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism, or TAGSAM, and slowly approach the sample site. When the TAGSAM touches the surface it will release a burst of nitrogen gas, causing loose rocks and soil to flow into the collector. Since Bennu may be rich in organic material or water left over from the formation of the solar system, sampling it could reveal whether the building blocks of life were present at that time, perhaps providing clues to the origins of life itself. After moving away from the surface, OSIRIS-REx will perform a spin maneuver to measure the mass of the sample, then it will carefully stow the TAGSAM head inside the Sample Return Capsule and prepare for the journey back to Earth. Upon arriving home in 2023, OSIRIS-REx will release the sample, giving us a piece of the ancient solar system that will be studied for decades to come. OSIRIS-REx is a joint project of the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver, Colorado. Dante Lauretta is the mission's Principal Investigator at the University of Arizona. [ music, sound effect ]