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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 view of Earth and Moon

OSIRIS-REx view of Earth and Moon

This color composite image of Earth and the Moon was taken October 2, 2017, 10 days after OSIRIS-REx performed its Earth Gravity Assist maneuver, using MapCam, the mid-range scientific camera onboard the spacecraft. The distance to Earth was approximately 5,120,000 km—about 13 times the distance between the Earth and Moon.

Farewell look at the Moon from OSIRIS-REx

Farewell look at the Moon from OSIRIS-REx

OSIRIS-REx took the data for this image of the Moon on September 25, 2017, at a distance of 1.2 million kilometers, three days after the spacecraft's Earth flyby. The image looks slightly blurry because it has been enlarged by a factor of two from the original resolution of the data. We see predominantly lunar farside terrain, with Tsiolkovskiy crater at lower right and Mare Moscoviense at upper right. On the center left is the round Mare Crisium.

OSIRIS-REx NavCam view of Earth and the Moon together

OSIRIS-REx NavCam view of Earth and the Moon together

This black-and-white image of the Earth-Moon system was captured on September 25, 2017 by the wide-angle NavCam 1 on OSIRIS-REx. At the time this image was taken, the spacecraft was retreating from Earth after performing an Earth Gravity Assist maneuver on September 22. Earth and the Moon are 401,200 kilometers apart, and the spacecraft is 1,297,000 kilometers from Earth and 1,185,000 kilometers from the Moon.

OSIRIS-REx' first departing view of Earth after flyby

OSIRIS-REx' first departing view of Earth after flyby

This image was taken from a range of 110,000 kilometers, following the September 22, 2017 Earth Gravity Assist flyby. It was captured by NavCam 1, a wide-angle black-and-white imager that is one of three cameras comprising TAGCAMS (the Touch-and-Go Camera System), which is part of OSIRIS-REx’s guidance, navigation, and control system. NavCam images will track starfields and landmarks on Bennu to determine the spacecraft position during mission operations. It has been cropped and rotated so that Earth’s north pole is located at the top. The Baja Peninsula is visible above and to the right of center. Cloud cover and the Pacific Ocean dominate most of the image, but Hurricane Maria and the remnants of Hurricane Jose can be seen in the far upper-right portion of the image, off the east coast of the United States.

Ocean world from OSIRIS-REx MapCam

Ocean world from OSIRIS-REx MapCam

OSIRIS-REx flew past Earth on September 22, 2017 and took this photo shortly after. The Pacific Ocean covers nearly the entire visible globe. The Sun is nearly behind the spacecraft, and a bright area on the ocean near the center of the view is specular reflection from the watery surface. The image is a composite of three photos taken through infrared, green, and blue filters. The infrared filter causes land that would appear green to appear red. "Icicles" at the top are caused by detector read-out register bleed-through, which occurs at the very short exposure times required for a close-up view of a bright planet.

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 grabs a sample

OSIRIS-REx grabs a sample

Screen capture from this video.

OSIRIS-REx returns a sample

OSIRIS-REx returns a sample

Screen cap taken 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.

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