Boulders East of Osprey

This image shows a close-up view of large boulders near asteroid Bennu’s equator, in the region where sample site Osprey’s crater is located. The crater and the sample site are directly west of these boulders (outside of the image frame). The image was taken by the PolyCam camera on NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft on February 11 from a distance of 0.4 miles (0.6 km). The field of view is 30 ft (9 m). For reference, the small bright rock (upper right quadrant) is 9 inches (23 cm) across, which is about the size of a paperback book. The image was obtained during the mission’s Reconnaissance B phase. When it was taken, the spacecraft was over the northern hemisphere, pointing PolyCam north and to the east. During this flyover, the OLA instrument was scheduled to provide ranging data to PolyCam in order to focus the camera. However, due to an anomaly that occurred with OLA, the PolyCam images from this flyover are slightly out of focus.

The small, horizontal streaks on the bottom left of the image are caused by short exposure times (less than three milliseconds). Short exposure times are required for imaging areas near Bennu’s equator, since they are brightly illuminated by the sun. The duration between images is so short that the imaging system does not always have time to process all the data generated by the previous exposure, which results in icicle-like patterns.

Date Taken: February 11, 2020

Instrument Used: OCAMS (PolyCam)

Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona


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