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On this day in 2016 - September 8th - NASA launched OSIRIS-REx, an asteroid study and sample return mission.

The spacecraft arrived at asteroid Bennu in December 2018 and was inserted into orbit in January 2019. Towards the end of September it begins the reconnaissance part of the mission.


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On this day in 1789 - September 9th - American astronomer William Cranch Bond was born.

Bond was the first director of the Harvard College Observatory, and a pioneer of astrophotography.


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On this day in 1975 - September 9th - NASA launched the Viking 2 mission.

It was an orbiter and lander like Viking 1, the other half of the first astrobiology mission to Mars.


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On this day in 1892 - September 9th - American astronomer E.E. Barnard discovered Jupiter's moon Amalthea.


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On this day in 2011 - September 10th - NASA launched the the two small spacecraft GRAIL A (Ebb) and GRAIL B (Flow).

The Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mapped the gravitational field of the Moon in unprecedented detail.


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On this day in 1857 - September 10th - American astronomer James Keeler was born.

Keeler was the director of the University of Pittsburgh's Allegheny Observatory in 1891, and later Lick Observatory in California. He was known for his studies of the rings of Saturn and for expanding astronomers' understanding of nebulae through an extended series of photographs using a large telescope.


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On this day in 1877 - September 11th - English astrophysicist and mathematician James Jeans was born.

Jeans made major contributions to the early understanding of stellar radiation and stellar evolution.


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On this day in 1985 - September 11th - the International Cometary Explorer (ICE) became the first spacecraft to make a flyby of a comet.

It passed through the plasma tail of comet Giacobini-Zinner within about 7,800 km (4,800 mi) of the nucleus.


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On this day in 1997 - September 11th - NASA's Mars Global Surveyor arrived at Mars.

It was a global mapping mission that formed part of the larger Mars Exploration Program. NASA officially ended the mission in January 2007 following an irreparable communications failure.


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On this day in 1959 - September 12th - the Soviet spacecraft Luna 2 was launched to the Moon.

The following day Luna 2 became the first human object to land on another celestial body.


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