OSIRIS-REx Cruises Over Site Nightingale During Final Dress Rehearsal

Captured on Aug. 11 during the second rehearsal of the OSIRIS-REx mission’s sample collection event, this series of images shows the SamCam imager’s field of view as the NASA spacecraft approaches asteroid Bennu’s surface. The rehearsal brought the spacecraft through the first three maneuvers of the sampling sequence to a point approximately 131 feet (40 meters) above the surface, after which the spacecraft performed a back-away burn.

These images were captured over a 13.5-minute period. The imaging sequence begins at approximately 420 feet (128 meters) above the surface – before the spacecraft executes the “Checkpoint” maneuver – and runs through to the “Matchpoint” maneuver, with the last image taken approximately 144 feet (44 meters) above the surface of Bennu.

The spacecraft’s sampling arm – called the Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) – is visible in the lower part of the frame. The round head at the end of TAGSAM is the only part of OSIRIS-REx that will make contact with the surface during the sample collection event. At the end of the gif, a relatively clear, dark patch of Bennu’s sample site Nightingale comes into view at the top of the frame. The large, boulder that the spacecraft approaches near the end of the sequence (on the crater’s rim) is 43 feet (13 meters) on its longest axis. The gif was created using 42 images taken by the spacecraft’s SamCam camera. For context, the images are oriented with Bennu’s west at the top.

During the sample collection event, which is scheduled for Oct. 20, SamCam will continuously document the entire sampling event and touchdown maneuver.

Date Taken: August 11, 2020

Instrument Used: OCAMS (SamCam)

Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona


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