OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer) is the National Aeronautical and Space Administration's first asteroid sample return mission. OSIRIS-REx seeks answers to the questions that are central to the human experience: Where did we come from? What is our destiny? Asteroids, the leftover debris from the solar system formation process, can answer these questions and teach us about the history of the sun and planets. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is traveling to Bennu, a carbonaceous asteroid whose regolith may record the earliest history of our solar system. Bennu may contain the molecular precursors to the origin of life and the Earth’s oceans. Bennu is also one of the most potentially hazardous asteroids, as it has a relatively high probability of impacting the Earth late in the 22nd century. OSIRIS-REx will determine Bennu’s physical and chemical properties, which will be critical to know in the event of an impact mitigation mission. Finally, asteroids like Bennu contain natural resources such as water, organics, and precious metals. In the future, these asteroids may one day fuel the exploration of the solar system by robotic and manned spacecraft.

Dante Lauretta of the University of Arizona, Tucson, is the principal investigator for OSIRIS-REx, and the University of Arizona also leads the science team and the mission’s science observation planning and data processing. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD provides overall mission management, systems engineering and safety and mission assurance. Lockheed Martin Space in Denver built the spacecraft and is providing flight operations. Goddard and KinetX Aerospace are responsible for navigating the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. Collaborators from institutions around the US and other countries also contribute their expertise.

OSIRIS-REx is the third mission in NASA’s New Frontiers Program. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL manages New Frontiers for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate.

Please refer to the collection guide for more information and for an ordered list of contents.


OSIRIS-REx Mission records MS 698. Special Collections, University of Arizona Libraries. Contact Special Collections at (520) 621-6423 or LBRY-askspcoll@email.arizona.edu.

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