Planets and Moons  ID: 4857

OSIRIS-REx – Detailed Global View of Asteroid Bennu

When NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft arrived at asteroid Bennu in December 2018, its close-up images confirmed what mission planners had predicted nearly two decades before: Bennu is made of loose material weakly clumped together by gravity, and shaped like a spinning top. This major validation, however, was accompanied by a major surprise. Scientists had expected Bennu’s surface to consist of fine-grained material like a sandy beach, but instead OSIRIS-REx was greeted by a rugged world littered with boulders – the size of cars, the size of houses, the size of football fields.

The 3D animations on this page were created using laser altimetry data and imagery of Bennu taken by OSIRIS-REx.

The Bennu albedo map was generated using images acquired by PolyCam during Baseball Diamond Flyby 1. The images were photometrically normalized to represent the innate albedo of Bennu’s surface. Details for the creation of the map can be found in the forthcoming publication “A High-Resolution Normal Albedo Map of Asteroid (101955) Bennu” by Golish et al. Icarus (2020).

Polar regions that were not imaged in Flyby 1 are visualized using the Bennu global basemap, created from PolyCam images acquired during Baseball Diamond Flybys 3 and 4. Details for the creation of the basemap can be found in “A high-resolution global Basemap of (101955) Bennu” by Bennett et al. Icarus (2020).

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Visualization Credits

Kel Elkins (USRA): Lead Visualizer
Dan Gallagher (USRA): Producer
Erin Morton (The University of Arizona): Communications Lead
Nancy Neal-Jones (NASA/GSFC): Communications Lead
Ian Jones (ADNET): Technical Support
Eric Sokolowsky (GST): Technical Support
Dathon Golish (The University of Arizona/LPL): Scientist
Cat Wolner (The University of Arizona/LPL): Communications
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

Data provided by NASA/University of Arizona/CSA/York University/MDA.

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Data Used:
Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

SVS >> Asteroid
SVS >> Elevation data
SVS >> Imaging
SVS >> Orbit
SVS >> Hyperwall
SVS >> Solar System >> Orbits
NASA Science >> Planets and Moons
SVS >> Bennu
SVS >> Transfer Orbit
SVS >> Map
SVS >> Sample Return
SVS >> Animations
SVS >> Mapping
SVS >> Maneuver
SVS >> Site
SVS >> Candidate