National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Lunar and Planetary Science

What's New in Lunar & Planetary Science

The CNSA (Chinese National Space Administration) Chang'e 5 lunar sample return mission launched on 23 November at approximately 20:30:12 UT (3:30:12 p.m. EST ; 4:30:12 a.m. 24 November Beijing Time). All performance following launch was nominal.

The OSIRIS-REx mission performed its touch-and-go (TAG) maneuver to retrieve a sample from the asteroid Bennu on October 20. The 4 1/2 hour operation culminated with OSIRIS-REx descending to the Nightingale region and using its sampling arm to conduct the TAG operation at roughly 22:08 UT Earth Received Time (6:08 p.m. EDT). Images of the sampler head indicate a good sample was obtained, and the sample has now been stowed in the sample return capsule. For more, see the NASA Press Release.

The sample return capsule from the JAXA (Japanese Space Agency) Hayabusa2 mission, carrying material from the asteroid Ryugu, will reenter the atmosphere and land in the Woomera Test Range in Australia on 6 December.

This Day in Planetary and Lunar Exploration History

Launch of Pioneer P-3 attempted lunar orbiter, payload destroyed shortly after launch.
France becomes the third nation to launch a rocket into Earth orbit, Asterix 1 on a Diamant A booster.
Launch of the Mars Science Laboratory "Curiosity" Rover.
InSight lander touches down on Mars.

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