2023 Author: Bryan Walter | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 22:24
The Bennu Mappers project was launched, within which anyone can help astronomers working with the OSIRIS-REx interplanetary station choose the most suitable place for sampling soil on the surface of the asteroid Bennu. Project participants need to compile a complete catalog of all objects near candidates for sampling sites, noting the locations of small stones, boulders and craters, according to the website of the US Planet Institute (PSI).
The robotic interplanetary station OSIRIS-REx was launched into space in September 2016. Its main task is a comprehensive study of the 500-meter near-Earth asteroid (101955) Bennu, belonging to spectral class B, the data obtained can provide important information about the formation and evolution of the solar system. At the beginning of July 2020, the station should approach the surface of the asteroid and, using a special manipulator, collect 60 grams of dust and rock fragments, after which it will deliver a capsule with soil to Earth by September 2023.
The task of collecting a sample of regolith from Bennu turned out to be much more difficult than previously thought, due to the large number of rock fragments and boulders of various shapes and sizes dotting the surface. But over the past several months, the station has been mapping Bennu's surface, trying to find the safest and most convenient place for the manipulator to touch the surface. To speed up the site selection process, the US Planet Institute launched the Bennu Mappers program based on the CosmoQuest civil science platform launched in 2012.
Anyone with Internet access can take part in the project. To get started, you need to register on the project portal and familiarize yourself with the rules of work. The purpose of the work is to help the mission team process the high-resolution images of the station's surface and compile a complete catalog of all objects near the candidates for sampling sites, noting the locations of small stones, boulders and craters. In the future, the results of the volunteers' work will help to understand the morphology and properties of the Bennu surface.
Earlier we talked about the AstroQuest project, within which anyone can take part in the processing of data from the largest spectroscopic survey of galaxies WAVES. The project participants need to check the results of the work of computer algorithms that highlight the boundaries of galaxies in the images, and correct errors, and the results of their work will help to understand the properties and evolution of various galaxies over billions of years.