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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, carried out detailed reconnaissance of the asteroid, collected samples, and is now on its way home.


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On this day in 1787 – 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 1892 – September 9th – American astronomer E.E. Barnard discovered Jupiter's moon Amalthea.

Amalthea was the last moon in the Solar System to be discovered by visual observation.


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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 1857 – September 9th – American astronomer James Keeler was born in La Salle, Illinois.

Keeler was the director of the University of Pittsburgh's Allegheny Observatory in 1891, and later of the Lick Observatory in California. Among other things, he was known for his studies of the rings of Saturn, confirming that Saturn’s ring system is not a solid unit, 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 2011 – September 10th – NASA launched 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 1717 – September 11th – Swedish astronomer Pehr Wilhelm Wargentin was born in Sunne, Sweden.

He was the first director of the Stockholm Observatory, and is probably best remembered today for his extensive study and observation of Jupiter’s satellites.


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On this day in 1877 – September 11th – English astrophysicist and mathematician James Jeans was born in Ormskirk, Lancashire.

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 is a global mapping mission, carrying a suite of science instruments designed to study the entire Martian surface, atmosphere and interior.


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