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First Images Of Asteroid Bennu Obtained By The NASA OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft

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This “super-resolution” view of asteroid Bennu was created utilizing eight photos obtained by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft on Oct. 29, 2018, from a distance of about 205 miles (330 km). Picture Credit score: NASA/Goddard/College of Arizona

November 2, 2018 – After two years touring by house, the NASA OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has began to acquire photos of the mission goal, primitive asteroid Bennu. As a part of the Scientific Group of this mission, researchers from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), Javier Licandro and Julia de León have already began to work within the calibration of this photos in preparation for those that will probably be obtained in December 2018 utilizing colour filters.

The launch of the NASA OSIRIS-REx mission befell on September eight, 2016. Since then, the spacecraft has been two years touring by house to achieve its goal, primitive asteroid Bennu, in October, 2018. The primary photos of the asteroid are being obtained utilizing one of many three cameras on-board the spacecraft (PolyCam) from a distance of 330 kilometers. In the course of the naked minute elapsed between the primary and the final of a complete of eight exposures, the asteroid rotated 1.2 levels. The scientific staff used a super-resolution algorithm to mix the eight photos and produce a better decision view of the asteroid. Though Bennu occupies barely 100 pixels within the detector, it’s doable to determine some options on its floor, like giant boulders.

These first photos of Bennu current a exceptional similarity with those lately obtained by the JAXA Hayabusa2 mission of one other primitive asteroid, Ryugu. “The truth that the Japanese mission has reached its goal a bit of forward of us seems to be extraordinarily attention-grabbing, as we will now interpret our outcomes and evaluate to the outcomes obtained by one other mission nearly on actual time”, explains Julia de León.

The IAC staff, which is a part of the Picture Processing Working Group (IPWG) of the mission, contains additionally Juan Luis Rizos García, who’s at present doing his PhD on the IAC with the pictures of Bennu obtained by OSIRIS-REx. “The primary photos that seize the complete asteroid are used for an vital variety of calibrations which are elementary to accurately interpret the outcomes obtained from greater decision photos utilizing totally different colour filters. Doing such calibrations is a part of my work”, says Rizos García.

“In December 2018 we’ll begin to acquire photos with MapCam, additionally one of many cameras of the mission, utilizing colour filters. It will permit us to generate colour maps and to check the geographical distribution of various supplies on Bennu, together with silicates altered by the presence of liquid water”, provides Javier Liandro. The research finished by the IAC staff will even assist to pick out the area on the floor of the asteroid from the place a easy will probably be collected and returned again to the Earth in 2023.

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