This first shot of the sequence begins with OSIRIS-REx’s arrival at the asteroid Bennu. A low resolution view of the asteroid is presented and thermal inertia data fades in, representing our initial understanding of the asteroid. The asteroid then spins quickly to serve as a transition to the second shot in the sequence.
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.
This video explores several interesting features of Bennu. The surface features are presented in vivid detail thanks to detailed terrain data from the OLA instrument and high resolution imagery from the PolyCam instrument.
This second shot in the sequence begins with a fast spinning Bennu, matching the end of the first shot in the sequence. As Bennu’s rotation decelerates, a highly detailed view of the asteroid is revealed using 20cm terrain elevation data (OLA) and high resolution imagery (PolyCam). The camera then zooms in and flys over several locations - Simurgh, Roc, Gargoyle, and Ocypete. Each of these locations are presented using 5cm terrain elevation tiles.
The third shot of the sequence begins with a dramatic reveal of BenBen, the tallest boulder on Bennu. The shot begins in darkness and sunlight sweeps across the surface of the asteroid. The camera rotates down to the horizon to show the height of the boulder before zooming over to a view of two boulders found to contain pyroxene. The camera then zooms back out to a global view and we see OSIRIS-REx in orbit around the asteroid.