That Asteroid Has a Name: Bennu!
We have a winner! The asteroid's new name is: Bennu.
The winning entry came from Mike Puzio, a nine-year-old from North Carolina. Mike argued that the Touch-and-Go Sample Mechanism (TAGSAM) arm and solar panels on OSIRIS-REx look like the neck and wings in drawings of Bennu, which Egyptians usually depicted as a gray heron.
Join us today at 2:30 pm PDT / 5:30 pm EDT / 19:30 UTC for a Google+ Hangout on Air with Mike Puzio and OSIRIS-REx principal investigator Dante Lauretta!
Asteroid (101955) 1999 RQ36 now has the much friendlier name "Bennu," thanks to a 3rd-grade student from North Carolina.
In this week's Hangout, Emily Lakdawalla hosted Mike Puzio and Dante Lauretta in a discussion about the naming of OSIRIS-REx' asteroid target.