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Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.

Sample Return Roundup

It's a banner year for sample return missions. In 2020, China, Japan, and the United States are all scheduled to have sample return missions in flight, seeking to retrieve material from near-Earth asteroids, the Moon, and eventually Mars.

The Next 10 Years

Six scientists share the major planetary science discoveries of the past decade, and the questions that will drive the next 10 years of solar system exploration.

Treasure Hunting With Hayabusa2

IN THE EARLY hours of 22 February, light was just beginning to brighten the campus of JAXA’s Institute of Space and Astronautical Sciences (ISAS) in Kanagawa, Japan. It should have been a quiet time, but the Hayabusa2 control room was packed with people. We were about to land on an asteroid.

News brief: OSIRIS-REx arrives in orbit at Bennu

Today at 19:43 UTC, OSIRIS-REx entered orbit at asteroid Bennu. In so doing, it accomplished both the tightest orbit (at an altitude under 2 kilometers) and the orbit of the smallest object ever. UPDATE: Early science results from OSIRIS-REx discussed at New Horizons MU69 flyby event.

Flying By Home

Vicky Hamilton explores how OSIRIS-REx used its Earth flyby to test instruments on the way to asteroid Bennu.

News brief: OSIRIS-REx finds water on Bennu

OSIRIS-REx team members held a press briefing today at the 2018 American Geophysical Union meeting, and announced that the mission has already found water on asteroid Bennu.

That Asteroid Has a Name: Bennu!

9-year-old Mike Puzio of North Carolina submitted the winning name for the asteroid target of NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. The Planetary Society, MIT's Lincoln Laboratory, and the University of Arizona asked students around the world to suggest names.

We have a winner! The OSIRIS-REx asteroid's name is: Bennu!

We received more than 8000 entries from all over the world in the Name That Asteroid contest, and we can finally announce the winner. The asteroid formerly known as 1999 RQ36 is now formally named (101955) Bennu, for a heron associated with the Egyptian god Osiris.

Space is vast. There's a lot of exploring to do.

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