OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Search Tests Instruments

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During an roughly two-week search, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx goal group activated a spacecraft’s MapCam imager and scanned partial of a surrounding space for fugitive Earth-Trojan asteroids — objects that scientists trust might exist in one of a fast regions that co-orbits a object with Earth. Although no Earth-Trojans were discovered, a spacecraft’s camera operated exquisitely and demonstrated that it could picture objects dual magnitudes dimmer than creatively expected.

The spacecraft, now on a outbound tour to a asteroid Bennu, flew by a core of Earth’s fourth Lagrangian area — a fast segment 60 degrees in front of Earth in a circuit where scientists trust asteroids might be trapped, such as asteroid 2010 TK7 detected by NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) satellite in 2010. Though no new asteroids were detected in a segment that was scanned, a spacecraft’s cameras MapCam and PolyCam successfully acquired and imaged Jupiter and several of a moons, as good as Main Belt asteroids.

The trail of a Main Belt asteroid 12 Victoria, as imaged by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx booster on Feb. 11, 2017, during a mission’s Earth-Trojan Asteroid Search. This animation is done of a array of 5 images taken by a spacecraft’s MapCam camera that were afterwards cropped and centered on Victoria. The images were taken about 51 mins detached and any was unprotected for 10 seconds.
Credits: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

“The Earth-Trojan Asteroid Search was a poignant success for a OSIRIS-REx mission,” pronounced OSIRIS-REx Principal Investigator Dante Lauretta of a University of Arizona, Tucson. “In this initial unsentimental use of a mission’s scholarship operations, a goal group schooled so most about this spacecraft’s capabilities and moody operations that we are now forward of a diversion for when we get to Bennu.”

The Earth Trojan consult was designed essentially as an use for a goal group to discipline a jeopardy hunt a booster will perform as it approaches a aim asteroid Bennu. This hunt will concede a goal group to equivocate any healthy satellites that might exist around a asteroid as a booster prepares to collect a representation to lapse to Earth in 2023 for systematic study.

The spacecraft’s MapCam imager, in particular, achieved most improved than approaching during a exercise. Based on a camera’s pattern specifications, a group approaching detecting 4 Main Belt asteroids. In practice, however, a camera was means to detect relocating asteroids dual magnitudes fainter than approaching and imaged a sum of 17 Main Belt asteroids. This indicates that a goal will be means to detect probable hazards around Bennu progressing and from a most larger stretch that creatively planned, serve shortening goal risk.

Scientists are still examining a implications of a search’s formula for a intensity race of Earth-Trojan asteroids and will tell conclusions after a consummate investigate of goal data.

Source: NASA

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