You have never seen a asteroid like this before.
This technicolor marvel is a compilation of more than 11 million dimensions of an asteroid called Bennu, all gathered by a NASA probe called OSIRIS-REx. This spacecraft came at December and since that time has been running a planned survey of their space rock.
The 3-dimensional view is based on information gathered in February and reveals the surface elevation of Bennu, with a nearly 200-foot (60-meter) difference in elevation between the lowland dark blue areas and the red peaks.
Nowthe spacecraft has only entered a stage known as the Detailed Survey: Equatorial Stations, and follows the thorough Survey: Baseball Diamond point that the team supporting the mission only concluded. Both phases are detailed assessments of this asteroid, and also the spacecraft will sample as the culmination of its assignment Bennu.
The Baseball Diamond stage — named for a former design of the precise route of the spacecraft around the asteroid, although the trajectory was redesigned in a manner that eliminated which similarity — lasted nearly two months and led to some amazing images of Bennu’s rocky surface.
The largest of these stones is particularly striking in this picture, taken from approximately 3 miles (4.8 km ) away. In it, the boulder occupies a lot of this 191-foot-wide (58 meters) field of view. The picture was recorded by the spacecraft’s PolyCam camera on March 7. )
A later move during the Baseball Diamond phase led to wider-angle images of the asteroid, such as a single showing away Bennu’s south pole. This picture shows much more of the asteroid itself — that the field of view spans 847 ft (258 m). Besides the asteroid surface, that this view also reveals a crater dimpling Bennu.
Now it has transitioned in the Equatorial Stations phase of its survey, OSIRIS-REx will carry on another pattern for scanning Bennu’s surface. The stage will continue through June, at that time the spacecraft will slide right into a steady orbit roughly 0.6 miles (1 km) above the asteroid.
And that maneuver will probably split the spacecraft’s personal document for the closest to a small celestial body that a stunt has ever orbited. By the time that stage ends in the fall of 2019, the group will have selected the candidate websites to get sample collection.
However OSIRIS-REx has plenty of time to carry on to scale Bennu’s rocky surface and tease out its own secrets — the spacecraft is not due to return to Earth before March 2021.
- Hi, Bennu! NASA Asteroid-Sampling Probe Reaches Its Goal Space Rock
- Since the Asteroid Turns: NASA Probe Snaps Video of Spinning Bennu
- Zoom! ) Asteroid Bennu Slips Past in OSIRIS-REx Flyby View
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