Advertisement

Sunday, March 17, 2019

A Region of Bennu’s Northern Hemisphere Close Up

Credit:  NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

This trio of images acquired by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft shows a wide shot and two close-ups of a region in asteroid Bennu’s northern hemisphere. The wide-angle image (left), obtained by the spacecraft’s MapCam camera, shows a 590-foot (180-meter) wide area with many rocks, including some large boulders, and a “pond” of regolith that is mostly devoid of large rocks.

The two closer images, obtained by the high-resolution PolyCam camera, show details of areas in the MapCam image, specifically a 50-foot (15 meter) boulder (top) and the regolith pond (bottom). The PolyCam frames are 101 feet (31 meters) across and the boulder depicted is approximately the same size as a humpback whale.

The images were taken on February 25 while the spacecraft was in orbit around Bennu, approximately 1.1 miles (1.8 km) from the asteroid’s surface. The observation plan for this day provided for one MapCam and two PolyCam images every 10 minutes, allowing for this combination of context and detail of Bennu’s surface.

The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft launched Sept. 8, 2016, and began orbiting the asteroid Bennu on Dec. 31, 2018. Since its arrival at Bennu, the probe has been investigating the asteroid and searching for an ideal site for sample collection. 

Bennu is only slightly wider than the height of the Empire State Building and is the smallest body ever orbited by spacecraft. Studying Bennu with OSIRIS-REx will allow researchers to learn more about the origins of our solar system, the sources of water and organic molecules on Earth, and the hazards and resources in near-Earth space. 

Credit: NASA


No comments:

Post a Comment