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Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security – Regolith Explorer

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An artistic visualization of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft hovering above the surface of Asteroid Bennu. The spacecraft is silver, shiny with two wings on the top and a long extension from the bottom.

OSIRIS-REx is the first U.S. mission to collect a sample from an asteroid. It returned to Earth on Sept. 24, 2023, to drop off material from asteroid Bennu. The spacecraft didn't land, but continued on to a new mission, OSIRIS-APEX, to explore asteroid Apophis. Meanwhile, scientists hope the Bennu sample OSIRIS-REx dropped into the Utah desert will offer clues to whether asteroids colliding with Earth billions of years ago brought water and other key ingredients for life here.

Mission Type

Sample Return


Asteroid Bennu


Sept. 24, 2023


Collect asteroid sample and deliver it to Earth


Launched on Sept. 8, 2016, the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security-Regolith Explorer, or OSIRIS-REx, spacecraft traveled to a near-Earth asteroid named Bennu (formerly 1999 RQ36) and collected a sample of rocks and dust from the surface. 

The spacecraft delivered the sample to Earth on Sept. 24, 2023. It released the capsule holding pieces of Bennu over Earth’s atmosphere. The capsule parachuted to the Department of Defense's Utah Test and Training Range, where the OSIRIS-REx team was waiting to retrieve it.

This mission will help scientists investigate how planets formed and how life began, as well as improve our understanding of asteroids that could impact Earth.

Person in cleanroom suit attached a tool to the TAGSAM from outside of the protective barrier

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Team Clears Hurdle to Access Remaining Bennu Sample

Curation team members at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston have successfully removed the two fasteners from the sampler head that had prevented the remainder of OSIRIS-REx’s asteroid Bennu sample material from being accessed.

red, blue and grey OSIRIS-REx logo

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Achieves Sample Mass Milestone

The curation team processing NASA’s asteroid Bennu sample has removed and collected 2.48 ounces (70.3 grams) of rocks and dust from the sampler hardware – surpassing the agency’s goal of bringing at least 60 grams to Earth.

A silver capsule is opened inside a glovebox surrounded by technicians gowned in blue protective suits

Initial Curation of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Sample

The initial curation process for NASA’s OSIRIS-REx  sample of asteroid Bennu is moving slower than anticipated, but for the best reason: the sample runneth over. 

To view more images from the Sept. 24, 2023, asteroid sample arrival in Utah,
visit NASA's OSIRIS-REx Flickr gallery.


OSIRIS-APEX, a follow-on to OSIRIS-REx, will study the physical changes to asteroid Apophis after the asteroid’s rare close encounter with Earth in 2029.

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