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Press Releases

Nine-Year-Old Names Asteroid Target of NASA Mission in Competition Run By The Planetary Society (May 1, 2013)

Asteroid (101955) 1999 RQ36 now has the much friendlier name "Bennu," thanks to a 3rd-grade student from North Carolina.

Student Asteroid Naming Contest Announced (September 4, 2012)

Students around the world have the opportunity to suggest names for an asteroid that will be visited by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft later this decade.

Planetary Society Has Role with OSIRIS-REx Mission (May 25, 2011)

NASA has selected the OSIRIS-REx mission as the next New Frontiers mission, and the Planetary Society is excited to announce that it will be involved with many public outreach activities connected with the mission.

Videos

Images

OSIRIS-REx PolyCam view of Jupiter and 3 moons

OSIRIS-REx PolyCam view of Jupiter and 3 moons

On Feb. 12, 2017, OSIRIS-REx’s PolyCam imager captured this image of Jupiter (center) and three of its moons, Callisto (left), Io, and Ganymede. The image was taken when the spacecraft was 122 million kilometers from Earth and 673 million kilometers from Jupiter.

Dante Lauretta

Dante Lauretta

Dante Lauretta speaks to members of the press during an OSIRIS-REx briefing in Aug. 2016.

First light for OSIRIS-REx StowCam

First light for OSIRIS-REx StowCam

On September 22, 2016, two weeks after launch, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft switched on the Touch and Go Camera System (TAGCAMS) to demonstrate proper operation in space. This image of the spacecraft was captured by the StowCam portion of the system when it was 6.17 million kilometers away from Earth and traveling at a speed of 30 kilometers per second around the Sun. Visible in the lower left hand side of the image is the radiator and sun shade for another instrument (SamCam) onboard the spacecraft. Featured prominently in the center of the image is the Sample Return Capsule (SRC), showing that our asteroid sample’s ride back to Earth in 2023 is in perfect condition. In the upper left and upper right portions of the image are views of deep space. No stars are visible due to the bright illumination provided by the sun.

OSIRIS-REx blazes skyward

OSIRIS-REx blazes skyward

OSIRIS-REx begins its journey to Bennu following a liftoff from Cape Canaveral, Florida on Sept. 8, 2016.

OSIRIS-REx soars into the sky

OSIRIS-REx soars into the sky

OSIRIS-REx begins its journey to Bennu following a liftoff from Cape Canaveral, Florida on Sept. 8, 2016.

Liftoff of OSIRIS-REx

Liftoff of OSIRIS-REx

OSIRIS-REx begins its journey to Bennu following a liftoff from Cape Canaveral, Florida on Sept. 8, 2016.

OSIRIS-REx atop its rocket

OSIRIS-REx atop its rocket

On August 29, 2016, the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return spacecraft was placed atop its Atlas-Centaur rocket in preparation for launch.

OSIRIS-REx waiting for encapsulation

OSIRIS-REx waiting for encapsulation

Inside the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is prepared for encapsulation in its payload fairing.

Inspecting the inside of the OSIRIS-REx sample return capsule

Inspecting the inside of the OSIRIS-REx sample return capsule

Taken inside the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at Kennedy Space Center on July 13, 2016, during testing of the sample return capsule door.

OSIRIS-REx at Kennedy Space Center for final assembly

OSIRIS-REx at Kennedy Space Center for final assembly

NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is revealed after its protective cover is removed inside the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 21, 2016.

OSIRIS-REx primary structure

OSIRIS-REx primary structure

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft structure marks the beginning of building the system that will fly to Bennu.

321 Science Presents: Asteroid Fact vs. Fiction

321 Science Presents: Asteroid Fact vs. Fiction

What is an asteroid and how much is science fact and how much science fiction? OSIRIS-REx presents the first 321Science video about asteroids. This video looks at asteroids in popular culture to explore how much is fact and how much is fiction.

Michael Puzio, age 9

Michael Puzio, age 9

Michael Puzio is the winner of the contest to name the asteroid Bennu.

Michael Puzio, age 9

Michael Puzio, age 9

Michael Puzio is the winner of the contest to name asteroid Bennu.

OSIRIS-REx returns a sample

OSIRIS-REx returns a sample

Screen cap taken from this video.

OSIRIS-REx grabs a sample

OSIRIS-REx grabs a sample

Screen capture from this video.

OSIRIS-REx

OSIRIS-REx

Screen capture from this video.


The naming contest for the near Earth asteroid currently named (101955) 1999 RQ36 is a partnership of the Planetary Society; MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory, the discoverers of (101955) 1999 RQ36; and the University of Arizona, who under principal investigator Dante Lauretta was chosen by NASA to lead the OSIRIS-REx (Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer) asteroid sample return mission.

astronaut on Phobos
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