Home » News & Blogs » NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Will Search for Asteroids Caught In Earth’s Orbit
Bookmark and Share
Lights in the Dark

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Will Search for Asteroids Caught In Earth’s Orbit

3 Feb 2017, 16:24 UTC
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Will Search for Asteroids Caught In Earth’s Orbit
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

In mid-February OSIRIS-REx will pass by the Earth-Sun L4 region, giving it an opportunity to search for asteroids. (University of Arizona)
Launched on Sept. 8, 2016, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is heading out into the main asteroid belt beyond the orbit of Mars to meet up with the 1,600-foot-wide asteroid Bennu. Ultimately OSIRIS-REx will map and collect a sample of Bennu’s surface, returning it to Earth in 2023. But while it’s still traveling through near-Earth space in preparation for a gravity-assist flyby this September, mission scientists will take advantage of OSIRIS-REx’s position near L4 to look for any captured “Trojan” asteroids.
“Scientists predict that there should be more Trojan asteroids sharing Earth’s orbit. These asteroids are difficult to detect from Earth because they appear close to the sun from Earth’s point of view,” writes OSIRIS-REx principal investigator Dante Lauretta at the University of Arizona. “In mid-February 2017, however, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will be positioned in an ideal spot to undertake a survey. We have decided to take advantage of this favorable position to perform a search for Trojan asteroids in the Earth-Sun L4 region. We will use the OCAMS MapCam imager to image a portion of the volume of space where ...

Latest Vodcast

Latest Podcast

Advertise PTTU

NASA Picture of the Day

Astronomy Picture of the Day

astronomy_pod