The InSight lander has only just arrived on Mars. Now, OSIRIS REx has reached asteroid Bennu after traveling through deep space for a year and a half. We’ll talk with the Planetary Society’s Jason Davis about this mission that will bring a sample of Bennu back to Earth after it has learned all it can over the next 19 months. We’ll also hear from the young student who gave the asteroid its name. Then we’ll return to the Red Planet for a conversation with the leader of the InSight mission, Bruce Banerdt. We’ve got very special prizes for this week’s What’s Up space trivia contest.
NASA / GSFC
Artist's concept of OSIRIS-REx
NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona
This image of asteroid Bennu was taken by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft from a distance of around 80 km (50 miles).
NASA / GSFC / UA
OSIRIS-REx's approach to Bennu
This video shows the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft’s view of Bennu during the final phase of its journey to the asteroid. From 17 August through 27 November, the spacecraft’s PolyCam camera imaged Bennu almost daily as the spacecraft covered the remaining 2.2 million kilometers toward the asteroid. The final images were obtained from a distance of about 65 km kilometers. During this period, OSIRIS-REx completed four maneuvers slowing the spacecraft’s velocity from approximately 491 m/s to 0.04 m/s relative to Bennu, which resulted in the slower approach speed at the end of the video.