January 25, 2020 – NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft efficiently executed a zero.Four-mile (620-m) flyover of website Nightingale earlier this week as a part of the mission’s Reconnaissance B part actions. Nightingale, OSIRIS-REx’s main pattern assortment website, is positioned inside a crater excessive in asteroid Bennu’s northern hemisphere.
To carry out the move, the spacecraft left its zero.75-mile (1.2-km) protected house orbit and flew an virtually 11-hour transit over the asteroid, aiming its science devices towards the 52-ft (16-m) broad pattern website earlier than returning to orbit. Science observations from this flyover are the closest taken of a pattern website thus far.
The first objective of the Nightingale flyover was to gather the
high-resolution imagery required to finish the spacecraft’s Pure
Function Monitoring picture catalog, which can doc the pattern
assortment website’s floor options – equivalent to boulders and craters.
In the course of the sampling occasion, which is scheduled for late August, the
spacecraft will use this catalog to navigate with respect to Bennu’s
floor options, permitting it to autonomously predict the place on the
pattern website it’ll make contact . A number of of the spacecraft’s different
devices additionally took observations of the Nightingale website in the course of the
flyover occasion, together with the OSIRIS-REx Thermal Emissions Spectrometer
(OTES), the OSIRIS-REx Visible and InfraRed Spectrometer (OVIRS), the
OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter (OLA), and the MapCam colour imager.
An identical flyover of the backup pattern assortment website, Osprey, is scheduled for February 11. Even decrease flybys might be carried out later this spring – March three for Nightingale and Could 26 for Osprey – as a part of the mission’s Reconnaissance C part actions. The spacecraft will carry out these two flyovers at an altitude of 820 toes (250 m), which would be the closest it has ever flown over asteroid Bennu’s floor.