Category Spectral Analysis

The bright spots on Ceres occur at the bottom of fresh impact craters - suggesting an icy subsurface layer.  Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

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 […]

Fire at Highland Plating on July 13.

OVIRS Development – Rising From the Ashes

Guest Bloggers: Jason Hair, Dennis Reuter, and Amy Simon Building a mission or an instrument is not for the faint of heart. While engineering teams develop plans to avoid major mishaps, sometimes even the best laid plans aren’t enough. A case in point is a series of unfortunate events that happened to the OVIRS instrument […]

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 […]

These figures show the slope distribution on the surface of Bennu. This information provides confidence that loose regolith can accumulate at the equator.

All That is Known About Bennu

Today, we released the OSIRIS-REx Design Reference Asteroid (DRA) document to the public. The DRA is a compilation of all that is known about the OSIRIS-REx mission target, asteroid (101955) Bennu. We are making this document available as a service to future mission planners in the hope that it will inform their efforts. The DRA […]

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

REXIS: X-ray Vision for OSIRIS-REx

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.

The Osirian Asteroid Family

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

OSIRIS-REx at the 2014 Asteroids, Comets, and Meteors Conference

  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

Osirians of the Great White North – The Canadian Contribution to OSIRIS-REx

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

The OSIRIS-REx Design Reference Mission – Our Battle Plan

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 bonded engineering grade filters

The OSIRIS-REx Visible and near-IR Spectrometer (OVIRS) – Measuring the chemistry and reflectance of Bennu

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 […]