Figure 1: The REXIS spectrometer engineering model undergoing thermal testing.

Guest Bloggers: Mark Chodas (REXIS Student Team Members) and Richard P. Binzel (REXIS-PI) When the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft arrives at the target near-Earth asteroid Bennu, its first science task is to globally characterize the nature and composition of the asteroid surface. This characterization is all driven toward the selection among safe and enticing sampling sites for […]

The color of asteroids helps determine which family they belong to.

Asteroid Families Defined The asteroid community recently gathered in Helsinki, Finland for the 12th Asteroids, Comets, and Meteors Conference. As this meeting showed, one of the hottest topics in asteroid science is the study of asteroid families. The majority of asteroids orbit the Sun between Mars and Jupiter. As a century of research has shown, […]

ACM 2014 logo-square

  I just recently returned from a trip to Helsinki, Finland to attend the 12th Asteroids, Comets, and Meteors Conference. The ACM conference focuses on the research of small Solar System bodies and their role in understanding the formation and evolution of the Solar System. Topics range from the evolution of extrasolar planetary systems to […]

The Canadian Space Agency

Co-authored with Lori Stiles When we first started planning an asteroid sample-return mission for the NASA New Frontiers Program, we looked to the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to provide the OLA instrument for topographic mapping and ranging to the asteroid. We also sought Co-Investigators from Canada to help us study the geology of our target […]

During Detailed Survey we generate the mineralogical and thermal maps of Bennu using OVIRS and OTES

This week the OSIRIS-REx team gathered at the Lockheed Martin facility in Denver to perform a “Design Reference Mission (DRM)” walkthrough. The DRM is basically the battle plan for OSIRIS-REx for accomplishing our goal of returning pristine samples from asteroid Bennu. In addition, the DRM lays out our basic strategy for dealing with any problems […]

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft structure marks the beginning of building the system that will fly to Bennu.

Last month, I had the opportunity to visit the spacecraft composite fabrication lab at Lockheed Martin’s Space Systems Company facility near Denver. The construction of OSIRIS-REx has begun! The first flight components include the spacecraft structural parts – basically the skeleton of our spacecraft upon which all other components will be mounted. Spacecraft structures have […]

The bonded engineering grade filters

Guest Blogger: Amy Simon – OVIRS Deputy Instrument Scientist OSIRIS-REx will map the entire surface of asteroid Bennu to pick a site that is most accessible and likely to yield a sample, but is also scientifically interesting. Choosing the best site requires understanding both the local geology and the local composition; a prime goal of […]

Drawing showing the relative positions of the beamsplitter and moving mirror assemblies (i.e., the interferometer)

Guest Blogger: Vicky Hamilton, OTES Deputy Instrument Scientist To help characterize the asteroid Bennu and aid in the selection of a scientifically compelling sampling site, OSIRIS-REx carries a pair of complementary spectrometers, one of which is called the OSIRIS-REx Thermal Emission Spectrometer, or OTES. OTES is being developed and built at the School of Earth […]

OLA measures the distance from the spacecraft to the surface of the asteroid.

Guest Blogger:Michael Daly – OLA Instrument Scientist, York University The OSIRIS-REx mission will visit the carbonaceous near-Earth asteroid Bennu in 2018 and bring back a sample for analysis in Earth-based laboratories in 2023. In order to understand where the sample comes from as well as to select a sample site, the spacecraft has a number […]

Over 100 team members and guests attended OSIRIS-REx STM06

The OSIRIS-REx Science Team gathered at the University of Arizona in Tucson from April 22 -24, 2014 for their sixth meeting. The meeting was a dynamic event and covered many aspects of both the science and implementation of the mission. In this post I will discuss a few of the highlights. In Search of the […]

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