NASA’s OSIRIS-REx is only a week away from its scheduled historic touchdown to collect a sample on Bennu and now you too can experience what it would be like standing on the surface of the asteroid. NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio has released some amazing three-dimensional videos that will make you feel like you are right in the thick of it.
The incredible footage was captured by two crucial instruments onboard the spacecraft. The OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter (OLA), developed by the Canadian Space Agency, provided detailed maps of the possible landing locations and size of the boulders on the surface of the asteroid, while the PolyCam, a telescope camera, has been collecting hi-res images of Bennu.
The results are absolutely breathtaking.
Wait for iiiitttt.
OSIRIS-REx has several different instruments that have been scanning and studying this minor world in exquisite detail. These have allowed for some great science, expanding our knowledge and understanding of how these objects form, where they come from, and what they're made of. A host of new papers released last week revealed the asteroid has a lot of carbon-bearing minerals, some of which are believed to have formed in the presence of flowing water.
Bennu itself didn't have rivers, but maybe its parent body did before it was destroyed. Researchers also found evidence of rocks that did not form with Bennu and are believed to have formed on asteroid Vesta, the second largest body in the Asteroid Belt.
OSIRIS-Rex is due to fly down to the surface of Bennu and collect a sample on October 20. It will be only the third spacecraft to collect material from an asteroid after Japan's Hayabusa and Hayabusa-2. The spacecraft will then continue to study the asteroid for another year, before flying back home in 2023.