NASA and the College of Arizona have launched an incredible new world map of the asteroid Bennu. At 2 inches (5 cm) per pixel, that is the very best decision international map of all planetary our bodies. This excessive decision map will assist information the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to the floor of the asteroid to gather a pattern, at present scheduled for late August 2020.
The OSIRIS-REx imagery group assembled 2,155 photos to supply this extremely detailed international mosaic of the floor of Bennu. If you wish to play an “I Spy” sport with this picture, the OSIRIS-Rex Twitter account is organizing a #WhereOnBennuIsThatBoulder problem. They supply clues and the problem gives a enjoyable approach to know the floor of the spinning prime asteroid.
This world map of the floor of the asteroid Bennu is a mosaic of photos collected by NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft between March 7 and April 19, 2019. Credit score: NASA / Goddard / College of Arizona
You possibly can view and discover bigger variations of this picture right here (mosaic solely) and right here (mosaic with coordinate system).
The spacecraft collected these photos at distances ranging
1.9 to three.1 miles (three.1 to five km) above the floor of the asteroid. Photos
had been taken between March 7 and April 19, 2019. This detailed view of Bennu was taken
utilized by the mission group in the course of the collection of the first and the backup
pattern assortment websites – Nightingale and Osprey.
As we talked about earlier, Bennu's floor seems to be rather more harmful than anticipated. For its small measurement – a few third of a mile (half a kilometer) extensive at its equator – Bennu has fairly numerous terrain, together with craters, ridges and trenches. And all of those areas appear to be coated with boulders and big boulders. It will make accumulating a pattern from the floor rather more tough and the group has determined to change their unique plans on the right way to perform the Contact pattern assortment occasion. -And-Go (TAG) on Bennu.
Upon arrival of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft on the asteroid Bennu
in December 2018, his close-up photos confirmed what mission planners had
predicted nearly 20 years in the past: Bennu is product of weakly unfastened supplies
grouped by gravity. However there have been additionally surprises. Scientists anticipated
Bennu's floor is made up of fine-grained supplies reminiscent of a sandy seashore. As
you may see by close-up footage, Bennu is a jumbled mess.
Floor strewn with Bennu rocks. Picture credit score: NASA / College of Arizona.
You possibly can see overviews of the 4 unique candidate pattern assortment websites within the video beneath.
The websites are named Osprey, Kingfisher, Nightingale and Sandpiper. Nightingale was chosen as the first assortment website, with Osprey because the backup website. The naming theme chosen for the OSIRIS-REx mission is "birds and creatures resembling birds in mythology" and the 4 websites have acquired names of birds present in Egypt.
The spacecraft performed shut overflights of the principle and emergency websites to acquire even increased decision images so as to put together the pattern assortment a part of the mission.
On the finish of the summer time of this yr, OSIRIS-REx will descend to the Nightingale website and acquire a pattern of virgin materials from the origins of the photo voltaic system.
When accumulating samples, the Pure Characteristic Monitoring (NFT) will information the NASA OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to the floor of the asteroid Bennu. The spacecraft takes real-time photos of the floor traits of the asteroid because it descends, after which compares these photos with an on-board picture catalog. The spacecraft then makes use of these geographic markers to precisely orient and goal the landing website.
Credit: NASA / Goddard / College of Arizona
With the sudden harmful terrain, the strategy of monitoring to the floor needed to be modified from using LIDAR (Mild and Distance Detection ) monitoring of pure options. The big rocks themselves will assist information the spacecraft to the correct place on Bennu.
The spacecraft is scheduled to the touch briefly for the aim of extracting floor samples. If the primary try fails, OSIRIS-Rex is provided for a number of makes an attempt to gather samples. As soon as the mission is accomplished in 2021, OSIRIS-REx will return residence, bringing its treasured virgin cargo to Earth in September 2023. If all goes in response to plan, the samples might be studied on Earth for many years to come back.
Regulate the OSIRIS-REx mission right here at Universe At present and on the mission web site.