Options on Asteroid Bennu Now Have Official Names – Primarily based on Mythological Creatures

Asteroid Bennu Location Names

This flat projection mosaic of asteroid Bennu reveals the areas of the primary 12 floor options to obtain official names from the Worldwide Astronomical Union. The accepted names had been proposed by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx workforce members, who’ve been mapping the asteroid intimately during the last 12 months. Bennu’s floor options are named after birds and bird-like creatures in mythology, and the locations related to them. Credit score: NASA/Goddard/College of Arizona

Asteroid Bennu’s most outstanding boulder, a rock chunk jutting out 71 ft (21.7 m) from the asteroid’s southern hemisphere, lastly has a reputation. The boulder – which is so giant that it was initially detected from Earth – is formally designated Benben Saxum after the primordial hill that first arose from the darkish waters in an historical Egyptian creation delusion.

Benben Saxum and 11 different options on the asteroid are the primary to obtain official Bennu characteristic names accepted by the Worldwide Astronomical Union (IAU), the internationally acknowledged authority for naming celestial our bodies and their floor options. The accepted names had been proposed by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx workforce members, who’ve been mapping the asteroid intimately during the last 12 months. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, NASA’s first asteroid pattern return mission, is at present visiting the asteroid and is scheduled to gather a pattern from Bennu’s floor this summer season.

“Since arriving at the asteroid, the OSIRIS-REx team has become incredibly familiar with all of the geological features on Bennu,” stated Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator on the College of Arizona, Tucson. “These features are providing us with insight into Bennu’s history, and their new names symbolize the essence of the mission – studying the past to both discover our origins and understand our future,” stated Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator on the College of Arizona, Tucson. 

The accepted Bennu floor characteristic names are listed beneath. Bennu’s numerous terrain sorts – together with regiones (broad geographic areas), craters, dorsa (ridges), fossae (grooves or trenches) and saxa (rocks and boulders) – shall be named after birds and bird-like creatures in mythology, and the locations related to them.

Tlanuwa Regio is called for the enormous birds who scattered the Earth with items of a serpent that was standing pillars of rocks in Cherokee mythology. Tlanuwa Regio is an space coated by giant boulders in Bennu’s southern hemisphere.

Benben Saxum is called for an historical Egyptian mound that arose from the primordial waters Nu. In Egyptian mythology, the god Atum settled upon Benben to create the world after his flight over the waters within the type of the Bennu fowl. Benben Saxum is the tallest boulder on Bennu.

Roc Saxum is called for the Roc, an infinite fowl of prey in Arabian mythology of the Center East. Roc Saxum is the most important boulder characteristic on Bennu.

Simurgh Saxum is called for the benevolent, mythological fowl in Persian mythology. The Simurgh was stated to own all information, and Simurgh Saxum defines the prime meridian on Bennu and is the idea for the asteroid’s coordinate system.

Huginn Saxum and Muninn Saxum are adjoining boulders named for the 2 ravens, Huginn and Muninn, who accompany the god Odin in Norse mythology.

Ocypete Saxum is called for one of many Greek harpies, the half-maiden and half-bird personification of storm winds that may snatch and carry issues away from Earth. Ocypete Saxum is situated close to the origin of the Jan. 19, 2019, particle ejection occasion on Bennu.

Strix Saxum is called for the Strix fowl of ill-omen from Roman mythology. Strix Saxum is a big boulder flanking the OSIRIS-REx mission’s backup pattern assortment website.

Amihan Saxum is called for the Tagalog (Philippines) mythological deity, who’s depicted as a fowl and was the primary creature to inhabit the universe. This huge, flat boulder seems to be partly buried and is situated in Tlanuwa Regio, which has an unusually excessive focus of huge boulders.

Pouakai Saxum is called for the monstrous fowl who kills and eat people in Māori (Polynesia) mythology. Pouakai Saxum is a 55 ft (10.6 m)-wide boulder situated in Bennu’s southern hemisphere, barely north of Benben Saxum.

Aetos Saxum is called for the childhood playmate of the supreme god Zeus, who was was an eagle by Hera in Greek mythology. Aetos Saxum is a conspicuously flat boulder, with a basic wing-like form situated close to Bennu’s equator.

Gargoyle Saxum is called for the French dragon-like monster with wings, bird-like neck, and the flexibility to breathe hearth. Gargoyle Saxum is a big outstanding boulder close to the mission’s backup pattern website that is among the darkest objects on the floor.

NASA’s Goddard House Flight Heart in Greenbelt, Maryland supplies total mission administration, techniques engineering, and the security and mission assurance for OSIRIS-REx. Dante Lauretta of the College of Arizona, Tucson, is the principal investigator, and the College of Arizona additionally leads the science workforce and the mission’s science commentary planning and information processing. Lockheed Martin House in Denver constructed the spacecraft and is offering flight operations. Goddard and KinetX Aerospace are chargeable for navigating the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. OSIRIS-REx is the third mission in NASA’s New Frontiers Program, which is managed by NASA’s Marshall House Flight Heart in Huntsville, Alabama, for the company’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

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