Preliminary outcomes point out that NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft efficiently executed a zero.4-mile (620-m) flyover of website Nightingale yesterday as a part of the mission’s Reconnaissance B part actions. Nightingale, OSIRIS-REx’s main pattern assortment website, is situated inside a crater excessive in asteroid Bennu’s northern hemisphere.
To carry out the go, the spacecraft left its zero.75-mile (1.2-km) secure residence orbit and flew an nearly 11-hour transit over the asteroid, aiming its science devices towards the 52-ft (16-m) extensive pattern website earlier than returning to orbit. Science observations from this flyover are the closest taken of a pattern website up to now.
The first purpose of the Nightingale flyover was to gather the high-resolution imagery required to finish the spacecraft’s Pure Characteristic Monitoring picture catalog, which is able to doc the pattern assortment website’s floor options – akin to boulders and craters. Throughout 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 should 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 coloration imager.
An analogous flyover of the backup pattern assortment website, Osprey, is scheduled for February 11, 2020. Even decrease flybys shall be carried out later this spring – Mar. 3 for Nightingale and Might 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.