After making history as the first U.S. mission to bring a piece of an asteroid back to Earth, OSIRIS-REx will continue on as OSIRIS-APEX. The new mission will bring the spacecraft to a different kind of asteroid to enrich our understanding of the solar system and potentially hazardous asteroids even further.
The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will swing by Earth to deliver a sample from asteroid Bennu on Sept. 24, 2023, but its time in space won't end there. NASA has extended the University of Arizona-led mission, which will continue on as OSIRIS-APEX, short for OSIRIS-APophis EXplorer. The goal is to study near-Earth asteroid Apophis for 18 months after the asteroid's close approach to Earth on April 13, 2029.
Having already investigated Bennu – a carbonaceous, or carbon-rich asteroid –the spacecraft will now provide first-of-its-kind high-resolution data of a different class of near-Earth object – a stony asteroid. The spacecraft will make its first maneuver toward Apophis when it diverts from the Earth immediately after delivering the Bennu sample.
Following sample delivery, the current team will split. The OSIRIS-REx team will analyze the Bennu sample, while the OSIRIS-APEX team transitions to the new mission. Dani DellaGiustina, a University of Arizona planetary sciences assistant professor and OSIRIS-REx deputy principal investigator, will become principal investigator of OSIRIS-APEX.
News About the Mission
OSIRIS-REx 101: Brush up on the basics before Bennu's sample touches down
Ahead of Sunday's sample delivery, learn about the asteroid, the spacecraft and the people starring in the historic OSIRIS-REx mission, which will launch decades of scientific research and could help explain the origins of the solar system and life itself.
Asteroid sample delivery to launch decades of science
When the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft delivers a sample from asteroid Bennu to Earth on Sept. 24, it will launch decades of scientific investigation. Mission principal investigator Dante Lauretta is most excited to shed light on the origins of life on Earth.
Dani Mendoza DellaGiustina
Dani DellaGiustina is an assistant professor of planetary science in the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. She is deputy principal investigator and image processing lead scientist for the OSIRIS-REx mission. Once the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft delivers its asteroid sample to Earth, she will take over as principal investigator for OSIRIS-APEX. Her research interests include the surface and near-surface structure of small airless worlds across the solar system. She is especially interested in water distribution through the solar system. For her investigations, she develops and uses remote-sensing and geophysical instruments deployed by spacecraft. She also tests and validates instrumentation techniques in extreme Earth environments that are similar to landscapes on other worlds.
Deputy Principal Investigator
Michael Nolan is a research professor at the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory and the deputy principal investigator of the OSIRIS-APEX mission. His primary responsibility is organizing the OSIRIS-APEX science team. His research focuses on the physical processes of asteroid evolution and their connection to meteorites. From 2006 to 2015, he led the Planetary Radar Program at the Arecibo Observatory and uses that data to better understand the processes that affect asteroid evolution.
Mission Implementation and Control Officer
Anjani Polit is the OSIRIS-APEX mission implementation and control officer and the OSIRIS-REx implementation systems engineer. During OSIRIS-REx operations around asteroid Bennu, Anjani led the OSIRIS-REx science planning team and was the vice chair of the sample site selection board. For OSIRIS-APEX, Anjani manages instrument operations and spacecraft observation planning and oversees daily operations at the mission's Science Processing and Operations Center. She also provides management oversight for science operations and science team finances, scheduling and resource allocation.
Mission Instrument and Observation Scientist
Dathon Golish leads the OSIRIS-APEX observation planning team in coordination with instrument scientists, science team members and spacecraft engineers. He is responsible for ensuring that instrument observations meet the mission scientific objectives at the asteroid. He also manages required calibrations and subsequent analyses with instrument scientists to ensure the continued health and fidelity of the OSIRIS-APEX scientific payloads. His research interests have spanned a range of topics over 15 years in instrument design, imaging and image processing.
OCAMS Instrument Scientist
Bashar Rizk is the instrument scientist for OCAMS, OSIRIS-APEX's primary scientific imaging system. His main responsibility is overseeing OCAMS operation to ensure it produces valid data. He has worked as an applied physicist in a university research and development setting for over 40 years. Thirty-five of those years have been at the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, working on spacecraft and remote sensing system design, development, test, calibration, planning and operations, as well as data processing and analysis.
Deputy OCAMS Instrument Scientist
Rose Garcia is the OCAMS deputy instrument scientist for OSIRIS-APEX. Her duties include assisting in planning instrument campaigns; overseeing instrument performance and calibrations; assessing and validating observational data; and supporting contingency strategies during unexpected events or anomalies. She previously was an observational astronomer for the Catalina Sky Survey and formed part of the team tasked with planning the science observations of Bennu with OSIRIS-REx.