News / Science & Technology

Egyptian Deities Linked to Cosmic Discoveries

Artist concept of OSIRIS-REx. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is to launch in 2016, reach asteroid (101955) 1999 RQ36 in 2019, examine it up close during a 505-day rendezvous, then return at least 60 grams of it to Earth in 2023. (Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona)
Artist concept of OSIRIS-REx. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is to launch in 2016, reach asteroid (101955) 1999 RQ36 in 2019, examine it up close during a 505-day rendezvous, then return at least 60 grams of it to Earth in 2023. (Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona)
Suzanne Presto
Two ancient Egyptian deities are set to rendezvous in space later this decade, but it's a meeting of a scientific, not mythological, kind. 

The U.S. space agency, NASA, announced Wednesday that Asteroid (101955) 1999 RQ36 has been renamed Bennu after an ancient Egyptian deity that is often depicted as a gray heron.  

Bennu will get a visit from a NASA spacecraft called OSIRIS-REx, more formally known as Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer

The spacecraft's arm will collect a sample of Bennu and store it for return to Earth.

The spacecraft shares its moniker with Osiris, the ancient Egyptian god of the underworld also worshipped for agriculture.  Bennu and Osiris are often connected in Egyptian stories.

The space agency says 8,000 students from more than 20 countries entered a contest to give Asteroid (101955) 1999 RQ36 a new moniker.  Nine-year-old Michael Puzio of the southeastern U.S. state of North Carolina suggested the winning name. 

In a news release, NASA said Puzio envisioned OSIRIS-REx's sampling arm and solar panels as resembling the neck and wings of the mythical Bennu.

OSIRIS-REx is set to launch in 2016, rendezvous with asteroid Bennu in 2018 and return a piece of the primordial space rock to Earth in 2023.  Scientists say the sample could hold clues to the origins of the solar system.

Asteroid (101955) 1999 RQ36's original name indicates it was discovered in 1999, and it was the 101,955th confirmed asteroid.

You May Like

Video Obama to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, President says US will take leadership role for a global response to deadly Ebola virus that is ravaging West Africa More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid