NASA’s OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return to Earth: Live updates


OSIRIS-REx 1 week from asteroid sample return

This NASA diagram shows how the OSIRIS-REx capsule will return to Earth on Sept. 24 over the course of 4 hours. (Image credit: NASA)

NASA is just one week away from the epic landing of its OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample-return capsule, which is packed with pieces of the asteroid Bennu. The landing, which is on track for Sept. 24, 2023, will mark the end of OSIRIS-REx’s primary 7-year mission that began with a launch in 2016 and sample-collection at Bennu in October 2020. 

Scientists are excited, but also on tenterhooks, as they prepare for OSIRIS-REx’s return to Earth. The spacecraft will slam into Earth’s atmosphere, protected by a heat shield, and reach speeds of up to 27,000 mph before deploying drogue and main parachutes to slow itself to a more manageable 10 mph. 

As NASA prepares for the OSIRIS-REx landing, check out our latest coverage below and stay tuned for daily updates leading up to the landing itself!

OSIRIS-REx asteroid probe heads toward Earth for Sept. 24 sample delivery
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx probe put itself on course toward Earth with a thruster firing on Sept. 10, two weeks before its highly anticipated asteroid-sample delivery.

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission almost bit the dust — then Queen guitarist Brian May stepped in
That the mission ultimately succeeded is in part due to Queen guitarist Brian May, who meticulously created 3D images of the rubble pile to help the mission leaders identify safe landing spots.

NASA conducts crucial drop test ahead of Sept. 24 arrival of OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample
The OSIRIS-REx team performed a crucial drop test on Wednesday (Aug. 30), practicing what they’ll do when the mission’s real asteroid sample comes home on Sept. 24.

OSIRIS-REx science chief reveals NASA’s 1st asteroid sampling mission nearly didn’t make it (exclusive interview)
Dante Lauretta, the chief scientist of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission, talks about the unexpected challenges of NASA’s first asteroid sampling attempt in an exclusive interview.

Here’s how asteroid Bennu caught NASA’s OSIRIS-REx by surprise

The touchdown of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft on asteroid Bennu stirred up a massive wall of debris. (Image credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab/Jonathan North)

When NASA’s OSIRIS-REx probe arrived at asteroid Bennu in 2018, it didn’t look like mission planners had envisioned.

“I really thought we might be in trouble there,” the mission’s chief scientist Dante Lauretta told Because the asteroid’s surface looked so different from how the OSIRIS-REx team thought it would, the spacecraft had to be reprogrammed in order to land on Bennu’s loose, gravely surface.

But Bennu still had some more surprises in store for the spacecraft as it touched down to collect a sample. Read about how asteroid Bennu caught NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft by surprise and nearly killed it along the way in our feature here as we countdown to the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft dropping off this cargo at Earth on Sunday, Sept. 24.

Related: How asteroid Bennu caught NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft by surprise and nearly killed it along the way


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