Hypothesized Surface: Sample Return from Hypothesized Surfaces – OSU – A

“NASA Psyche Sample Return”


Oregon State University (OSU)


Tungsten Class (2023 – 2024)


Abdullah Azmat, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
Chenghao Li, Mechanical Engineering
Laurel Bright Berman, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
Leanne Fischer, Mechanical Engineering
Portia Council, Mechanical Engineering
Steven Nguyen, Mechanical Engineering and Material Science




Dr. Sarah Oman, Oregon State University
Dr. Cassie Bowman, Arizona State University


The scope of our project is to return samples from the asteroid, Psyche. The operation will be carried out in three stages: impact, collect, and return. This process took inspiration from NASA’s OSIRIS-REx sample collecting mission with its highly efficient TAGSAM mechanism (Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism: a robotic arm combined with pneumatics to blow up and collect particles). This mechanism eliminates the high cost and complexity of a system using a lander, a rover, and returning propulsion. Our three-stage approach similarly aims to achieve this efficiency with adjustments to adapt to Psyche’s highly dissimilar gravitational and metallic characteristics. An impactor will be sent to Psyche’s surface to create a spray of debris, which will be collected by a small rocket sent from a satellite in Psyche’s orbit. The small rocket will return to the satellite, which will be returned to Earth, once the samples have been collected. Our group is primarily focused on the collector/mechanism housed in the small rocket to acquire these samples.

The overall small rocket shape and capsule designs were inspired by NASA’s Stardust mission. The capsule on the front of the drone will contain the collectors and prevent contamination. The team is still in the process of selecting a collector concept, so both the net and disk collectors are shown in the assembly views below. The Disk will be double-sided to ensure that samples of varying sizes and properties are collected. One side will consist of a grid-like pattern to hold Aerogel. The other side will include electromagnets to collect the magnetic metallic particles from the debris field. The net concept has a mesh back made of Kevlar and an opening that
consists of a titanium ring with holes to attach the Kevlar mesh and a metal grid-like front.

This work was created in partial fulfillment of the Oregon State University Capstone Course “MIME 497”. The work is a result of the Psyche Student Collaborations component of NASA’s Psyche Mission (https://psyche.asu.edu). “Psyche: A Journey to a Metal World” [Contract number NNM16AA09C] is part of the NASA Discovery Program mission to solar system targets. Trade names and trademarks of ASU and NASA are used in this work for identification only. Their usage does not constitute an official endorsement, either expressed or implied, by Arizona State University or National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of ASU or NASA.