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 | March 3, 2021

Introduction

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

On this page:

Highlights

Videos & Animations

Activities

  • 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 will “TAG” 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 mission account on Twitter (@OSIRISREx) or Instagram (@OSIRIS_REx).

  • Make Your Own Asteroid

    Create your own unique asteroid using a few simple materials.

Stories

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

TAG

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.

Articles

Graphics

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 will say farewell to asteroid Bennu and begin its journey back to Earth. However, before departing for Earth on May 10, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will perform a final flyby of Bennu – capturing its last images of sample collection site Nightingale to look for transformations on Bennu’s surface after the October 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 September 24, 2023.

Articles

Other Resources

  • 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.

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

    The 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 a growing fleet of spacecraft. You can view the worlds through the eyes of many different instruments, pilot real-time 3D flyovers above mountains and into craters, and conduct measurements of surface features.