2023 Author: Bryan Walter | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 22:24
The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft entered a very low stable orbit around the 680-meter asteroid Bennu, breaking its own record set last December. None of the automatic interplanetary stations operated in orbit so close to the surface of a celestial body, according to the mission's website.
The main task of the mission of the automatic interplanetary station OSIRIS-REx is to study from orbit the 500-meter near-earth asteroid (101955) Bennu, belonging to spectral class B. early July 2020. For this, the station is equipped with a special manipulator. It will then deliver the soil capsule to Earth by September 2023.
In December 2018, the device entered a low stable orbit around the asteroid, which is located 1.75 kilometers from its center. Previously, none of the automatic research interplanetary stations did not work so close to the surface of a small body in the solar system. Prior to OSIRIS-REx, the record belonged to the Rosetta station, which was located seven kilometers from the center of comet 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko. On June 12, 2019, OSIRIS-REx broke its own record by maneuvering into orbit located 680 meters from the Bennu surface, thereby starting a new phase of its mission, designated Orbital B. The spacecraft will remain in such a low orbit until the second week of August. after which it will enter a higher orbit and will be located 1, 3 kilometers from Bennu.
In the course of work in low orbit, the station will build an accurate model of the asteroid from OLA lidar data, complete detailed mapping of the entire Bennu surface using its cameras, and study the composition of the surface layer using onboard infrared and X-ray spectrometers. In addition, the mission team wants to track dust emissions from the surface of the asteroid, this is the first two weeks of the mission phase, when the device will receive images of the surroundings near the equator of Bennu.
Recently, astronomers from the mission team launched the Bennu Mappers project, in which anyone can participate and help choose the most suitable place for soil sampling on the asteroid's surface. For more information on what scientists have learned about the asteroid thanks to OSIRIS-REx, read our material "Diamond-shaped celestial body".