To Bennu and Back: Journey’s End

  • Released Wednesday, August 30th, 2023
  • Updated Thursday, October 5th, 2023 at 12:29PM
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OSIRIS-REx is NASA’s first asteroid sample return mission. It launched in September 2016 on a journey to explore a near-Earth asteroid called Bennu. In October 2020, the spacecraft ventured to the asteroid’s surface and collected about 250 grams of material for delivery to Earth. Now, two years and four months after leaving Bennu, OSIRIS-REx is closing in on the place where its journey began. The mission’s thrilling finale will take place on September 24, 2023, as a capsule containing the Bennu samples touches down in Utah’s West Desert. Follow the journey to Bennu and back on NASA.gov.

OSIRIS-REx diverts away from Earth after releasing its sample return capsule.Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab

OSIRIS-REx diverts away from Earth after releasing its sample return capsule.
Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab

The sample return capsule experiences maximum heating in Earth’s atmosphere.Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab

The sample return capsule experiences maximum heating in Earth’s atmosphere.
Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab

With its main parachute deployed, the capsule slowly descends to the Utah desert.
Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab

With its main parachute deployed, the capsule slowly descends to the Utah desert.
Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab

The sample return capsule approaches touchdown on the desert floor.
Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab

The sample return capsule approaches touchdown on the desert floor.
Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab

OSIRIS-APEX carries out its extended mission to near-Earth asteroid Apophis.
Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab

OSIRIS-APEX carries out its extended mission to near-Earth asteroid Apophis.
Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab

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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


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