OLA’s Complete 3D Map of Bennu

This three-dimensional view of asteroid Bennu was created by the OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter (OLA), contributed by the Canadian Space Agency, on NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. This 3D global map of Bennu’s topography was created from about 20 million measurements taken by OLA. From Feb. 12 through 17, OLA made more than 11 million measurements of the distance between OSIRIS-REx and Bennu’s surface as the spacecraft flew less than 1.2 miles (2 km) above the surface. From July 2 through August 5, OLA took additional measurements using its low-energy laser transmitter (LELT). The LELT is designed to fire 10,000 light pulses per second at the asteroid, and operates approximately 700 meters above Bennu’s surface.

OLA obtained these measurements by firing laser pulses at Bennu and measuring the amount of time it takes for the light to bounce off the asteroid’s surface and return to the instrument. That time measurement is then translated into altitude data. Using this data, the OLA team created the 3-D model of Bennu’s surface. The colors represent the distance from the center of Bennu: dark blue areas lie approximately 197 feet (60 meters) lower than peaks indicated in red.

Date Taken: August 5, 2019

Instrument Used: OLA

Credit: NASA/University of Arizona/CSA/York/MDA


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