September 24th, 2023: The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft launched over 7 years ago in September 2016. After spending several years in close proximity to the asteroid Bennu, OSIRIS-REx touched down on the surface and began collecting samples from the celestial object. Bennu was chosen specifically as the subject of this mission because it is a carbonaceous asteroid that has not significantly changed since its creation – meaning samples collected from it could give scientists more information about how the Solar System formed and evolved over time.
The OSIRIS-REx mission is the third iteration of NASA’s New Frontiers program, following the footsteps of the New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Juno spacecraft’s exploration of Jupiter. The fourth planned mission, currently set to launch in 2027, is Dragonfly. This spacecraft is set to land on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, and analyze the microbial habitability of the moon.
Congratulations to NASA and all those that worked on the OSIRIS-REx mission!