NASA shares first images from OSIRIS-REx's touchdown on Bennu

History in GIF format.

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Igor Bonifacic
October 21st, 2020
In this article: bennu, space, OSIRIS-REX, NASA, news, tomorrow
The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft which will travel to the near-Earth asteroid Bennu and bring a sample back to Earth for study is seen in an undated NASA artist rendering.   NASA/Handout via Reuters  THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
NASA NASA / Reuters

It made history in the span of approximately six seconds. On Tuesday afternoon, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft successfully completed its touch-and-go meeting with 101955 Bennu. In the process, it managed to collect a sample of regolith it will now carry back to Earth for scientists to examine. Today, we get to see how that maneuver looked from OSIRIS-REx’s perspective, with NASA sharing a series of 82 images from the craft’s SamCam imaging tool.

According to NASA, the images document approximately five minutes of OSIRIS-REx’s descent toward Bennu, including the moment it came into contact with the planetoid. Throughout the series, OSIRIS-REx’s aptly named Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) is visible in the frame. NASA says the component was the only part of the craft that touched the asteroid. The images might not seem like much, but in a media Q&A NASA held this afternoon, the agency hinted that it’s already learned a lot about Bennu’s surface just from the fact OSIRIS-REx created so much debris during the event.

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