NASA is hosting a media teleconference at 2 p.m. EDT Friday, Aug. 24, to provide an update on upcoming activities related to the agency’s first mission to return a sample of an asteroid to Earth.
The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft, which launched on Sept. 8, 2016, started asteroid science operations last week, began imaging asteroid Bennu for the first time, and is now preparing to conduct the necessary approach maneuvers to rendezvous with Bennu on Dec. 3.
The mission represents a valuable opportunity to learn more about the origins of our solar system, the sources of water and organic molecules on Earth, and the hazards and resources in near-Earth space.
The briefing participants are:
Lori Glaze, acting director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator at the University of Arizona, Tucson Michael Moreau, OSIRIS-REx flight dynamics system manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Sandy Freund, OSIRIS-REx mission support area manager at Lockheed Martin Space
3. Lauretta - The first image of asteroid 101955 Bennu
(Available here as both a GIF and mp4 video.)
Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona
On Aug. 17, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft obtained the first images of its target asteroid Bennu from a distance of 1.4 million miles (2.2 million km), or almost six times the distance between the Earth and Moon. This cropped set of five images was obtained by the PolyCam camera over the course of an hour for calibration purposes and in order to assist the mission’s navigation team with optical navigation efforts. Bennu is visible as a moving object against the stars in the constellation Serpens.