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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.

OSIRIS-REx Team Picks 4 Candidate Sample Sites on Asteroid Bennu

The sites each have unique characteristics that would advance the field of asteroid science.

OSIRIS-REx Sets Low-Orbit Record, Enters New Orbital B Mission Phase

Last week, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample-return mission announced that they had achieved an orbit above asteroid Bennu with an altitude of only 680 meters. Now they are surveying for landing sites and have invited the public's help.

Here's a Roundup of Recent OSIRIS-REx Postcards from Bennu

NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is currently sweeping arcs between the asteroid's north and south poles.

OSIRIS-REx sees Bennu spewing stuff into space

The asteroid's rotation rate is also increasing, and scientists continue refining the plan to collect a regolith sample next year.

Fun With a New Data Set: The OSIRIS-REx Earth Flyby

The OSIRIS-REx team recently issued their first data release to the Planetary Data System. This release doesn’t include any closeup pictures of asteroid Bennu, but it does include all the pictures they took during their September 2017 Earth flyby.

OSIRIS-REx stable in Bennu orbit, team refines sample collection plans

The team has yet to find a Bennu sample site that matches their pre-arrival expectations, meaning their plans will probably have to change.

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.

"We have arrived!" OSIRIS-REx is officially at asteroid Bennu

After a 2-billion-kilometer journey that began in September 2016, NASA's OSIRS-REx spacecraft has arrived at Bennu.

OSIRIS-REx and New Horizons catch first sight of their targets

Both OSIRIS-REx and New Horizons achieved first light on their still-distant targets this week. Between now and the end of 2018, Bennu and 2014 MU69 will turn from points of light into places.

What's the benefit of sample return?

With Hayabusa2 at Ryugu and OSIRIS-REx closing on Bennu, it's the summer of sample return. Why do scientists go to so much trouble for a piece of a another world?

Get ready for OSIRIS-REx at Bennu! ...but be patient.

NASA's OSIRIS-REx will get the first sight of its target Bennu in August and go into orbit in December.

OSIRIS-REx shows us space isn't entirely empty

What a cool photo of OSIRIS-REx's sample return capsule! But wait, what's that black dot near the top?

Earth flyby tests OSIRIS-REx's cameras

As expected, OSIRIS-REx's Earth flyby on September 22 was a success. The mission is slowly releasing beautiful images of our home worlds taken by its many cameras following the flyby.

OSIRIS-REx Earth flyby: What to Expect

OSIRIS-REx launched on September 8, 2016. Now, a year later, it's returning to its home to get a second boost on to its destination, the asteroid Bennu. It'll test all its cameras on Earth and the Moon in the 10 days after the flyby.

Want NASA to pick your space mission proposal? Two winning scientists share some tips

NASA is currently accepting proposals for its next New Frontiers-class planetary science mission. What does the agency look for in a winning proposal? The two scientists behind the ORISIS-REx and Psyche missions share some tips.

Spaceflight in 2017, part 2: Robots beyond Earth orbit

What's ahead for our intrepid space explorers in 2017? It'll be the end of Cassini, but not before the mission performs great science close to the rings. OSIRIS-REx will fly by Earth, and Chang'e 5 will launch to the Moon, as a host of other spacecraft continue their ongoing missions.

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