May 27, 2019
This last week was Week 5 of Detailed Survey: Equatorial Stations phase. For each week of this phase, the spacecraft observes Bennu from a different Local Solar Time (LST) station. At each station, the spacecraft is centered on the equator at a distance of 5 km and observes the asteroid for one full Bennu rotation (4.3 hours).
On May 23, the spacecraft took observations from Station 5, located at 6:00 am LST. OVIRS, OTES and MapCam took observations and OLA scanned cross-track in ride-along mode. These observations contribute to the OVIRS and OCAMS photometric models, global spectral, temperature and thermal inertia maps, and the global shape models from SPC (35-cm) and OLA (75 cm).
As a preliminary step to the selection of the mission’s sample collection site, the team has been closely studying data obtained from 50 regions of interest on the asteroid. They are looking for sites that are safe for the spacecraft, sampleable and scientifically interesting. Starting next week, the team will begin narrowing down the number of possible sites, which will then be further characterized before a final and back-up site are chosen in July.
On May 22, the TAGCAMS navigation cameras went into brief safe-mode after missing an aliveness check. The instrument resumed operations later that day, which was confirmed during the scheduled High Gain Antenna (HGA) transmission.