Tag Archives: Near-Earth object

MeteorCrater1

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 […]

Professors Shogo Tachibana (left) and Harold Connolly Jr.

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 […]

Credit: Catalina Sky Survey, Lunar & Planetary Laboratory, The University of Arizona

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 […]

YORP

The YORP Effect and Bennu

As I have discussed in an earlier post, one of the OSIRIS-REx mission’s top objectives is to understand the Yarkovsky effect. The Yarkovsky effect describes a small force that affects the orbit of asteroids. In the 19th century, Ivan Yarkovsky realized that the infrared radiation escaping from a body warmed by the Sun carries off […]

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 […]

The Hayabusa-2 mission shares many common goals with OSIRIS-REx.

Collaboration Between OSIRIS-REx and Hayabusa-2

On October 3rd, 2014, the University of Arizona (UA) hosted representatives of the Hayabusa-2 asteroid sample return mission to explore opportunities for collaboration with the OSIRIS-REx team. Following an invitation from UA President Ann Weaver Hart, a team led by Dr. Saku Tsuneta, Director General of the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) of 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 […]

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 […]

Over 100 team members and guests attended OSIRIS-REx STM06

Highlights from OSIRIS-REx Science Team Meeting #6

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 […]

The Spitzer Space Telescope provided key information for planning OSIRIS-REx

Spitzer Space Telescope Observations of Bennu

The OSIRIS-REx mission has the unique challenge of visiting asteroid Bennu, characterizing it at global and local scales, then selecting the best site on the asteroid surface to acquire a sample for return to Earth. In order to minimize the risk of exploring an unknown world, OSIRIS-REx has recruited some of the best asteroid astronomers […]