Kraz-Toonz Presents:
Osiris-Rex, Space Dino

OSIRIS-REx: Asteroid Sample Return Mission from Bennu.

Conceived in 2004 as part of NASA’s trio of New Frontiers Program missions1, the OSIRIS-REx mission objective is to collect and return a material sample from the asteroid Bennu2.

The "Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer“, or OSIRIS-REx for short, was conceived by a team at NASA who spent equal time deriving acronyms as actual engineering. Extensive over-use of acronym’s is actually required by law for most technical jobs but especially so in the aerospace field.

However, an administration error resulted in “Osiris-Rex” being commissioned as the first dinosaur for a space mission after Osiris, the Egyptian god of the underworld, declined3.

1) OSIRIS-REx was NASA’s third and final endeavor of the New Frontiers missions intended to seek insight into the origins of life.

 2) Asteroid Id: 101955 “Bennu” is thought to be comprised of “carbonaceous chondrites” compounds (whatever those are) and is estimated to be 4.5 billion years old; containing amino acids which may provide clues to the origins of life on Earth.

3) Osiris, God of the Underworld, has an unlisted number and could not be reached for comment.

Osiris-Rex launched from Cape Canaveral on September 8th, 2016 atop an Atlas V launch vehicle for the mere cost of a one-way ticket to orbit of 183.5 million dollars1.

Unfortunately, nobody bothered to get pre-approval on Osiris’s Visa prior to launch which turned out to have a credit limit of only $17. Ironically, NASA (who’s mission is discovery) doesn’t accept the Discover Card2.

The launch also coincided with the 50th anniversary of “Star Trek”3, contributing to the low attendance at the launch and several bad puns pertaining to “the final frontier” and “to go where no dino has gone before”.

1) Cost of Atlas V-411 to loft OSIRIS-REx to orbit was $3.31 million per minute with spacecraft release at T+55:38.

2) NASA does not, in fact, accept the American Express either.

3) “Star Trek” debuted on NBC on September 8th, 1966.

Following a successful launch and separation from the Centaur upper stage of the rocket, Osiris heads off into space--which was easy since it was pretty much all around him at that point. Once beyond of Earth’s gravity, the average speed of Osiris’s solar orbit is approximately 68,000 miles per hour; setting a new speed record for a dinosaur (although not officially recognized by Guinness World Records1). With solar panels extended, satellite dish deployed and cruise control set, Osiris broke out the snacks and kicked back to binge Netflix while in route.

1) Guinness does, however, list the record for the largest gathering of people dressed as dinosaurs at 252 people

September 22, 2017: After drifting in space for a bit more than a year (and 635 re-runs of “Gunsmoke” later1), Osiris finally made it to.... exactly where he started: Earth.

After consulting with NASA engineers (interrupting their year-long celebration of the 40th anniversary of “Star Wars” 2) it was determined that Osiris was not a Jedi nor could be relied upon to use the “Force” for navigational guidance anymore3.

With updated coordinates curtesy of Professor Google and his assistant Wikipedia, Osiris employs a gravitational “sling-shot” maneuver around Earth and continues on towards Bennu4.

1) “Gunsmoke” aired 635 episodes between 1955 and 1975, making it the longest running primetime TV show until surpassed by The Simpsons in 2018.

2) “Star Wars” debuts on May 25, 1977.

3) Osiris-Rex, Space Dino is, in fact, not a Jedi. All Jedi training was canceled after Osiris tried eating Yoda.

4) OSIRIS’s rendezvous with Earth and subsequent gravity assist in 2017 is part of the planned course.

August 18th, 2018 marks the first images of Bennu from a mere 1.2 million miles away with Osiris’s official arrival at Bennu on December 3 as determined by being “within selfie range”1. First orbit is achieved on December 31st, 20182 followed by a New Year’s hangover lasting well into January before serious surveying could commence. During the mission’s multiple orbital reconnaissance phases, four potential sample collection sites are identified and named after mythologically relevant birds: Foghorn Leghorn, Woody Woodpecker, Big Bird, and Rocky the Flying Squirrel3.

1) OSIRIS’s first on-board imaging started at 1.2 million miles with an on-board 8” telescope. OSIRIS also transitions from star navigation to objective tracking.

2) Fact: In 2018 and 2019, OSIRIS sets records for smallest object orbited by a spacecraft and the closest orbit.

3) The four potential sample sites are actually named: Nightingale (primary target), Osprey (backup target), Kingfisher, and Sandpiper

With the sample collection site sufficiently mapped1, Osiris enters a low orbit over the Bennu landscape asteroid-scape. Once over the target site, a sample collection device is extended to the surface momentarily. A pizza-derived burp of air is emitted which is immediately vacuumed back up along with a sample of surface material2. This is otherwise known as the “Hover and Hoover Maneuver”.

After cleaning urine out of the sample collection cup as a result of an earlier operational misunderstanding, Osiris seals and secures the surface sample for the return flight to Earth in his Asteroid Storage System (albeit not the least bit amused by engineering’s poor acronym humor).

1) Surface imaging and mapping includes X-ray imaging, laser altimeter, thermal emission spectrometer, visible and infrared spectrometer… and possibly a polaroid.

2) OSIRIS-REx has a Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) is a 11-foot arm that uses compressed nitrogen to capture the surface sample material.

Following a successful sample collection, Osiris will remain in orbit around Bennu until March of 20211 waiting for an Uber ride to show up before starting the 2-1/2 year trek back to earth with a scheduled return on September 24th, 2023—a mere 7 years, 2 weeks, and 2 days since departure. The extended mission duration being fueled solely by the gastrological effluent generated by the excessive consumption of Doritos and Red Bull.

1) OSIRIS-REx will continue to observe Bennu while waiting for proper orbit alignment with Earth for the return trip. Additional observations during this time include and studying how solar heating and re-emission of the thermal radiation can affect path.

Upon arrival back at Earth, Osiris will toss the sample collection canister towards a giant bulls-eye painted on the desert floor of the Air Force’s Utah test range. The sample return capsule will enter the atmosphere and deploying a chute to slow the descent before landing on a bed of down-filled pillows1, 2.

The extra care is necessary since the mission’s targeted sample collection of 2.1 ounces and a mission cost of 980 million dollars makes the Bennu sample one of the most expensive materials on earth; worth approximately 290,000 times its weight in gold or 164,000 times its weight in methamphetamine3.

1) The sample canister will enter the Earth’s atmosphere with a speed of more than 27,000 miles per hour (12.2 kilometers per second).

2) Parachute deployment will occur at an altitude of 10,000ft to slow the capsule for a soft landing.

3) Based on current “street prices”.

The sample will be shared between NASA Astro-materials Acquisition and Curation Office at JSC and Japan's Extraterrestrial Sample Curation Center1.

DNA experimentation by Japan will most likely lead to an attack and ultimately the destruction of Tokyo by a Godzilla-alien hybrid.

Meanwhile, the sample held by NASA will inspire Ridley Scott’s 17th sequel of “Alien” with a non-fiction account of the Bennu sample’s escape from quarantine2.

1) The sample will be quarantined for six months before being shared with research groups around the world. NASA will retain approximately 75 percent of the material collected for future investigation and analysis.

2) Correction: Ridley Scott is anticipated to be on only the 14th sequel of “Alien” in 2023.

With NASA scientist distracted by the escaped Bennu sample back on earth, Osiris’s own homecoming was overlooked and he opted to not return to Earth himself1. This was also largely influenced by the fact that Osiris was not given a parachute so the descent would have had an abrupt end2. Besides, not having paid bills for the last seven years meant a litany of repo henchmen were waiting for him.

Given NASA’s track record of “retirement parties” involving intentionally crashing spacecraft into planets3, being left to drift back into space, even with very little fanfare, was not a bad alternative for Osiris4. Besides, he had made new friends during his stint at Bennu and more adventures awaited him on the horizon.

1) Following the sample return OSIRIS-REx will remain in solar orbit. Although unable to collect more samples, the spacecraft with remain operational and may be assigned follow-on operations.

2) Fact: It’s not the fall that kills you…. It’s the sudden stop at the end.

3) NASA’s “retirement” of spacecraft includes: Skylab (Earth, 1979); Galileo (Jupiter, 2003); LCROSS (Moon, 2009); LADEE (Moon, 2014); MESSENGER (Mercury, 2015); Cassini (Saturn, 2017).

4) “Space is not empty. It is full, a plenum as opposed to a vacuum, and is the ground for the existence of everything, including ourselves.” --David Bohm, father of quantum physics theory.

The original design review "meeting
minutes" doodle that started it all

Resources to learn more about NASA’s “real” OSIRIS-REx mission:


NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Website:

OSIRIS-REx Mission Website:

And of course:


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