The Downlink: OSIRIS-REx Sample Site Picked, Easy-Access Water Ice on Mars
NASA / Goddard / University of Arizona
Bennu Sample Site with OSIRIS-REx Overlay
This image shows sample site Nightingale, OSIRIS-REx’s primary sample collection site on asteroid Bennu. The image is overlaid with a graphic of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to illustrate the scale of the site.
Welcome to issue 11 of The Downlink, a planetary exploration news roundup from The Planetary Society! Here's everything that crossed our radar this week.
Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory say they’ve found a great spot for future astronauts to land on Mars. Data from the agency’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Odyssey spacecraft show there could be water ice just a few centimeters beneath the surface of a large, northern mid-latitude region. The ice might be relatively easy to harvest by hand to produce breathable air, drinkable water, and rocket propellant.
The European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft captured a new sequence of images of Mars' moon Phobos. The images were captured at a distance of about 2400 kilometers with the spacecraft's high resolution stereo camera, and used to make a flyby video. Mars Express entered orbit around Mars in 2004.
Observations by the Hubble Space Telescope show that interstellar comet 2I/Borisov has a diameter of about 500 meters, or one-half of a kilometer. This would make it similar in size to Bennu, the asteroid being explored by OSIRIS-REx. Additional observations of Borisov have shown that its composition is similar to comets found in our own solar system.
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