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Canadian Instrument on OSIRIS-REx Took Most Detailed 3D Measurements of Any Celestial Body Ever Explored

9 Oct 2020, 19:01 UTC
Canadian Instrument on OSIRIS-REx Took Most Detailed 3D Measurements of Any Celestial Body Ever Explored
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An OLA scan that was taken over 5.5 minutes and contains 3,342,748 measurements. Shadows are in areas that were not visible from the perspective of OLA. (Credit: NASA/University of Arizona/Canadian Space Agency/York University/MDA)

LONGUEUIL, Quebec (CSA PR) — In a detailed study published today, Canadian scientist Michael Daly (York University) and his team revealed that the data gathered by Canadian OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter (OLA) enabled new insights into near-Earth asteroid Bennu. The paper is part of a special collection on Bennu appearing today in Science and Science Advances.

On October 20, 2020, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will attempt to take a sample from Bennu in hopes of answering questions about how our solar system formed and how life on Earth may have begun. After a challenging process where scientists discovered that Bennu’s surface was much more rugged than initially expected, a site named “Nightingale” was officially chosen as OSIRIS-REx’s final target to collect a sample.

Without measurements taken by the Canadian instrument OLA, the selection of a sample site would have been much more difficult. OLA scanned the asteroid’s surface and took almost 3 billion individual measurements, spaced on average less than 5 cm apart, to create a 3D model ...

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