Category Asteroids

Ready for the Earth Gravity Assist!

It is hard to believe that OSIRIS-REx has been in space for over one year. We celebrated the first anniversary of our launch on September 8, 2017. I celebrated this milestone by visiting my hometown Boys and Girls Club in Phoenix, AZ, where I grew up. As the plaque in this image shows, I was […]

Searching for the Earth-Trojan Asteroids

The OSIRIS-REx mission will take advantage of our fortuitous trajectory to search for an elusive class of asteroids that may be the remnants of the building blocks of the Earth. Since our launch on September 8, 2016, spacecraft operations for OSIRIS-REx have gone well. We have exercised the propulsion system by performing regular momentum dumps […]

What Would Happen if Asteroid Bennu Were to Impact the Earth?

Yesterday, the media reported widely on the upcoming launch of OSIRIS-REx. While many of these reports were accurate and informative, a few of the headlines were a little misleading. For example: NASA Spacecraft Set to Explore Giant Asteroid That Could Destroy Earth Fortunately, as the news cycle progressed, these inaccuracies were corrected: No, Asteroid Bennu […]

A Look Back at the Bennuval!

Guest Blogger: Thea Jane Van Gorp Thea Jane Van Gorp is a reporter for the Arizona Daily Wildcat. She wrote an article previewing the Bennuval! event, which was held in Tucson, AZ on September 12, 2015. She provided this review of the evening from her unique perspective. Bennuval! An evening of Space, Art, and Music […]

The Difficulties with Predicting Armageddon

In February of 2013, the science community’s eyes were glued to the sky. They were watching for asteroid Duende, a 30m lump of rock that was due to skim past our planet in a record close approach for an object of its size. And while everyone stared skywards in one direction, another rock shot in […]

The Target Asteroids! Citizen Science Program

Imagine… Imagine turning a mere point of light into a real world! That is what Target Asteroids! observers do when they submit images and data to the OSIRIS-REx mission’s citizen science program. These observations allow the OSIRIS-REx science team and other planetary scientists to better understand our target, Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA) (101955) Bennu, and […]

Celebrating the Small Bodies of the Solar System – i C Ceres!

This past weekend, I had the chance to join colleagues from across the country to celebrate the arrival of the Dawn spacecraft at Dwarf Planet/Asteroid 1 Ceres – the largest object in the main asteroid belt. After more than seven years cruising through the solar system, including an amazing year exploring asteroid 4 Vesta, Dawn […]

OSIRIS-REx – Seeking Answers to the Sweet Mystery of Life

Guest Blogger: Jason Dworkin   The nature of the origin of life is a topic that has engaged people since ancient times. Where did we come from? What was the first life? How are we related? Are we alone? The study of biologic remains and environments preserved in rocks (fossils) and biochemical pathways and structures […]

Planet Formation and the Origin of Life

On Monday, February 2, 2015, I will present the UA College of Science Lecture on “Planet Formation and the Origin of Life”. This is a research theme that I have pursued for most of my career. It is generally accepted that planets or their satellites are required for life to originate and evolve. Thus, in […]

Bennu's Journey is a 6-minute animated movie about NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission, asteroid Bennu, and the formation of our solar system.

The Science of “Bennu’s Journey”

This week the OSIRIS-REx project released Bennu’s Journey, a movie describing one possible history of our target asteroid – Bennu. The animation is among the most highly detailed productions created by Goddard’s Conceptual Image Laboratory. It is the result of an exciting collaboration between the OSIRIS-REx Science Team, Walt Feimer and Michael Lentz, from the […]