This artist’s concept shows the planned flight path of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft during its final flyby of asteroid Bennu, which is scheduled for April 7. Credit: ASA/Goddard/University of Arizona NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission is on the brink of discovering the extent of the mess it made on asteroid Bennu’s surface during last fall’s […]

This artist’s concept shows the planned flight path of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft during its final flyby of asteroid Bennu, scheduled for April 7, 2021. Credit: University of Arizona On April 7, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission will give asteroid Bennu one last glance before saying farewell. Before departing for Earth on May 10, the OSIRIS-REx […]

Last month, NASA’s robotic spacecraft OSIRIS-REx descended toward, thumped into, and then quickly moved away from the small near-Earth asteroid 101955 Bennu. This video depicts the Touch-And-Go (TAG) sampling event over a three-hour period.  This is what it looks like to punch an asteroid. As the movie begins, the automated probe approaches […]

The left image shows the OSIRIS-REx collector head hovering over the Sample Return Capsule (SRC) after the Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism arm moved it into the proper position for capture. The right image shows the collector head secured onto the capture ring in the SRC. Both images were captured by […]

Artwork: Osiris-Rex approaching the surface of Asteroid Bennu NASA/GODDARD/UOA America’s Osiris-Rex spacecraft has completed its audacious tag-and-go manoeuvre designed to grab surface rock from an asteroid. Radio signals from 330 million km away confirm the probe made contact with the 500m-wide object known as Bennu. But the Nasa-led mission will have to […]

OSIRIS-REx at Sample Site Nightingale. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center   ANIMATION NASA’s first asteroid sample return mission, OSIRIS-REx, will make a daring attempt to “TAG” asteroid Bennu on October 20, 2020 – touch its surface and collect a sample for return to Earth. Sample site Nightingale, the mission’s targeted touch […]

OSIRIS-REx observed small bits of material leaping off the surface of the asteroid Bennu on January 19, 2019. (Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona/Lockheed Martin) In January 2019, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft was orbiting the asteroid Bennu when the spacecraft’s cameras caught something unexpected: Thousands of tiny bits of material, some just the size of marbles, began […]

Examples of disaggregation (top) and linear fractures (bottom) in boulders on asteroid Bennu from images taken by NASA’s OSIRIS-REX spacecraft. In the bottom row, fracture orientations are (d) west-northwest to east-southeast and (e, f) north to south. Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona Asteroids don’t just sit there doing nothing as they […]

Brian May, Astrophysicist and Rockstar. Credit: ESA – Science Office Queen guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May has teamed up with asteroid researchers to investigate striking similarities and a puzzling difference between separate bodies explored by space probes. The research team ran a supercomputer-based ‘fight club’ involving simulated large asteroid collisions […]