Frontiers Lecture: Sampling an Asteroid

Part of Frontiers Lectures

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

A closeup photograph of the Bennu asteroid, taken by NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. Bennu is rocky, with a roughly spheroidal shape. Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech
What can we learn from asteroids about how the solar system formed? And what is the impact of asteroids on Earth’s future? 

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission launched in 2016 to find answers to these questions and others as it began its journey to collect samples from the asteroid Bennu. Join Harold C. Connolly Jr., Mission Sample Scientist on the OSIRIS-REx mission and founding chair and professor in the Department of Geology at Rowan University, in conversation with Curator Denton Ebel, who chairs the Museum’s Division of Physical Sciences, and Director of Astrovisualization Carter Emmart as they discuss the differences between the expected trajectory of this mission and the reality of the past eight years. What discoveries are expected? What did the spacecraft “see” at Bennu? 

Bennu’s samples are expected to return to Earth in September of 2023, but in this program Connolly will share what we know now and what can be expected as sample analysis begins in the fall.   

This program is produced using OpenSpace, which is funded by NASA under award No NNX16AB93A.

Support for Hayden Planetarium Programs is provided by the Horace W. Goldsmith Endowment Fund.