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Curator Conversations: Frozen in Time: The OSIRIS-REx Mission and Space Rock from the Asteroid Bennu

What can an asteroid teach us about the earliest history of our solar system? Sign up for this digital conversation and find out more with Canadian scientists Kim Tait (ROM) and Tim Haltigin (Canadian Space Agency) as they share their experiences on the international team of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Mission to Bennu . 

"Rocks from Bennu have literally been ‘frozen’ in time, giving us a rare snapshot of the rock record from over 4.5 billion years ago, a time that we can't see in the rocks on Earth,” explains Dr. Tait.

Launched in 2016, the OSIRIS-Rex mission performed the most in-depth exploration of the asteroid Bennu to date. After 7 years in space, the mission returns to Earth on September 24 with its unique sample of material gathered from the asteroid. 

Scheduled for the week before the samples return to Earth, this engaging digital program celebrates the success of the mission, building awareness – and anticipation – for NASA’s livestream of the mission’s return. 

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Dr. Tim Haltigin

Dr. Tim Haltigin Photo credit: Canadian Space Agency

Dr. Tim Haltigin is the Senior Mission Scientist in Planetary Exploration and Acting Manager for Planetary Science and Space Astronomy Missions at the Canadian Space Agency, where he helps lead Canada’s efforts in exploring the solar system. He received his PhD from McGill University, where his research revealed similarities in the evolution of ice-rich terrains on Earth and Mars. He was previously in the running to become Canada’s next astronaut, has worked on a variety of robotic missions throughout the solar system, and has an asteroid named after him (130066 timhaltigin). More details about his projects and background are at

Dr. Kimberly Tait

Dr. Kimberly Tait is Teck Endowed Chair of Mineralogy and Department Head of Natural History at ROM

Dr. Kimberly Tait is Teck Endowed Chair of Mineralogy and Department Head of Natural History at ROM and oversees mineralogical, gemmological and meteoritic research at the Museum. She is also a cross-appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Geology at the University of Toronto.

Recorded September 13, 2023