OSIRIS-REX is sent by NASA to research the Bennu Asteroid thoroughly. This mission is a preparatory stage for an upcoming expedition. At the moment, researchers are trying to get a better image of the surroundings. Their primary focus is the Nightingale, which will be the landing point of the expedition. In the meantime, OSIRIS-REX is taking pictures of the asteroid situated at 236 million kilometers away from Earth and will soon collect soil samples as well.
A couple of close shots were already taken by the spacecraft. Therefore NASA decided to release a full global map containing pictures of the Asteroid Bennu. There, one can admire the inners of the outer-space through qualitative images.
The map has resulted in combining all the small shots to provide a high-resolution image. 2.155 macro models stuck together and resulted in a plan with an unbelievable resolution of 5 centimeters per pixel. Consequently, the map has earned the title of the global map with the highest-resolution ever published.
NASA created a hi-res map of Asteroid Bennu
The impressive number of shots was taken by the robot during a small period. Between 7 March and 19 April last year, the spacecraft was delivering pictures to NASA, while flying at an altitude of over 3.1 to 5 kilometers.
The unbelievable amount of details helped the researchers to choose the most appropriate area where the robot can land. The schedule is stating that the landing should take place in August, on the large crater called Nightingale.
The current plan says that OSIRIS-REX should land for no more than 5 seconds. During that time, it will collect soil samples and start its journey back on planet Earth. Hoping that everything goes as planned, the spacecraft will be back in September 2023. The global map of the asteroid can be downloaded from the OSIRIS-REX mission page at 859 MB size.