Detailed Survey: Equatorial Stations Phase
During Detailed Survey: Equatorial Stations phase, the spacecraft’s instruments will make the scientific observations needed to help the team home in on the best location on Bennu to collect a sample of regolith (loose surface material). To obtain these data, the spacecraft will execute a series of slews between Bennu’s north and south poles while taking observations from seven different stations above the equator. These data will be studied to understand the geology of Bennu. The spacecraft will also conduct searches for dust and gas plumes.
The wide range of data products developed during this phase will be analyzed and combined to produce the Integrated Global Science Value Map, the Global Safety Map and the Global Sampleability Map. At the end of Detailed Survey: Equatorial Stations, the team will have the information needed to select up to 12 candidate sample sites. In addition, the team will map the global properties of the asteroid, accomplishing a major science objective of the mission.
The Detailed Survey: Equatorial Stations phase is scheduled to last until mid-June when the spacecraft will move into Orbital B phase. Get an overview of all the phases of Asteroid Operations.