artist concept of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft with sampling arm extended

OSIRIS-REx Resources

By Staci L. Tiedeken, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Feature | October 25, 2022


This page showcases our resources for those interested in learning more about NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission. It includes activities that can be done at home as well as videos, animations, stories, and articles.



Videos & Animations

Videos & Animations



  • Down to the Core

    Design, build, and test a device that can take a core sample from a potato “asteroid,” “moon,” or “planet.” This activity uses a potato as the asteroid, but any object with a similar makeup/consistency can be used; you can also use different types of chocolate candies to drill into.

    Note: This activity is about drilling into an asteroid to collect a sample, unlike the OSIRIS-REx mission which “TAGged” the surface to collect its sample.

  • OSIRIS-REx Paper Spacecraft Model

    Make your very own paper model of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft!

  • #MyOSIRISREx Pocket Spacecraft

    While the real OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is working to bring a sample of asteroid Bennu to Earth, you can take your own pocket spacecraft for an adventure right here at home. Snap a photo of your spacecraft TAG-ing something interesting where you live. Then share it by using the hashtag #MyOSIRISREx and tagging the NASA Solar System account on Twitter (@NASASolarSystem) or Instagram (@nasasolarsystem).

  • Make Your Own Asteroid

    Create your own unique asteroid using a few simple materials.

3D Models

3D Models



OSIRIS-REx collecting sample from Bennu
Captured on Oct. 20, 2020, 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. Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona


On October 20, 2020, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft successfully touched the surface of the near-Earth asteroid Bennu and collected an abundant sample of the asteroid during the Touch-and-Go (TAG) sample collection event. The sampling event brought the spacecraft all the way down to sample site Nightingale, touching down within three feet (one meter) of the targeted location.

The process of actually selecting the sample site presented numerous challenges for scientists since Bennu is covered with large boulders.

Ever played the game of tag? Well, this is similar to how OSIRIS-REx was designed to grab a sample from Bennu!

Familiarize yourself with the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft and its Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) by constructing your very own paper spacecraft model.



Natural Feature Tracking
Explore this graphic which demonstrates how the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft ensured safe sample collection.

Return to Earth

On May 10, 2021, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft said farewell to asteroid Bennu and began its journey back to Earth. Before departing for Earth, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft performed a final flyby of Bennu on April 7, 2021 – capturing its last images of sample collection site Nightingale to look for transformations on Bennu’s surface after the Oct. 20, 2020, sample collection event.

During sample collection, the spacecraft captured a substantial amount of material from Bennu’s surface, likely exceeding the mission’s requirement of 2 ounces (60 grams). The spacecraft is scheduled to deliver the sample to Earth on Sept. 24, 2023.


  • NASA’s first asteroid sample return spacecraft, OSIRIS-REx, is on track to deliver a sample of asteroid Bennu to Earth on Sept. 24, 2023, completing a seven-year mission. After OSIRIS-REx returns this sample to Earth, the spacecraft will continue on an extended mission under the name “OSIRIS-APEX” to asteroid Apophis.

  • Scientists thought asteroid Bennu’s surface was like a sandy beach, but when NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission arrived at Bennu in late 2018, the mission saw a surface covered in boulders. Researchers used machine learning and surface temperature data to uncover the reason why Bennu is so rocky.

  • Researchers used precision-tracking data from NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to better understand movements of the potentially hazardous asteroid Bennu through the year 2300, significantly reducing uncertainties related to its future orbit, and improving scientists’ ability to determine the total impact probability and predict orbits of other asteroids.

  • The mission engineers for OSIRIS-REx had planned to do a small thruster firing to ensure the spacecraft stays on the correct path back to Earth after its departure from asteroid Bennu. However, the May 10, 2021, departure maneuver was calculated and executed so precisely, the mission team didn’t require a clean-up maneuver.

  • Images taken during OSIRIS-REx’s final fly-over of asteroid Bennu on April 7, 2021, reveal the aftermath of its historic encounter with the asteroid.

  • On May 10, 2021, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft departed near-Earth asteroid Bennu after being in orbit around the asteroid since December 2018. The spacecraft is carrying an abundance of rocks and dust it collected from Bennu, which it is scheduled to deliver to Earth on Sept. 24, 2023.

Other Resources

  • This map shows the various surface features on Bennu with names approved by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). The asteroid’s surface features are named after birds and bird-like creatures in mythology.

  • Fully interactive, Eyes on Asteroids uses data to help visualize asteroid and comet orbits around the Sun. Zoom in to travel along with your favorite spacecraft as they explore these fascinating near-Earth objects in beautiful 3D.

  • Close up image of Enceladus surface
    NASA’s Solar System Treks

    Solar System Treks are online, browser-based portals that allow you to visualize, explore, and analyze the surfaces of other worlds using real data returned from spacecraft. You can pilot real-time 3D flyovers and measure surface features.

  • The Asteroid Watch Widget tracks asteroids and comets that will make relatively close approaches to Earth. The Widget displays the date of closest approach, approximate object diameter, relative size, and distance from Earth for each encounter.

  • Ever wondered where an asteroid, comet, or other small-body is located in our solar system? Look no further than this resource which allows you to type in the name of an object, and all the details you’d ever want to know about it will pop up (including an orbit diagram so that you can see where the object is relative to Earth)!

    Note: This resource is for older kids and/or curious adults.

  • Explore this gallery of images of asteroid Bennu taken by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft.

  • Celebrate the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft’s successful collection of a sample of near-Earth asteroid Bennu with this commemorative poster.

  • Celebrate the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft’s departure from near-Earth asteroid Bennu with this commemorative poster.