Launched in 2016 of automatic interplanetary station OSIRIS-REx continues his work — at the moment she is looking for the perfect place to collect soil samples which would be sent to Earth. Since a large part of a space object covered with boulders, the researchers intend to collect the regolith, with subtle impact craters, and the pictures have finally been published online. The pictures were taken in the framework of the Detailed Survey: Equatorial Stations at mapping the asteroid’s surface.
Impact craters cause the researchers of particular interest, because the fragments of rock and regolith can be mined only there. Operation for the extraction will be conducted in mid-2020, with a special manipulator and mechanism, and the grinding stones with compressed air. In General, the researchers want to produce from 60 grams to 2 kilograms of material, and to deliver them on the Ground in the fall of 2023.
OSIRIS-REx will take soil samples from craters Benn
One of the potential locations for collecting samples is in the Northern hemisphere Benn. There is a 21.6-meter impact crater, the which was made on March 29 with PolyCam camera with 3.6 kilometer distance. As can be seen, in the region of the crater virtually no large boulders, which will allow the manipulator to take samples without any problems.
The second potential location for collecting samples is the North-Western part of one of the largest craters of the asteroid. The picture was taken April 11 at the distance of 4.6 kilometers.
The third scientific interest the site is located next to the dark boulder Benn — photo was taken on April 4. It can be seen that to the North of stone is a site with a pretty loose regolith.
The fourth crater is located near the equator — it reaches a size of 41.5 metres and it is surrounded by large boulders. The photo was taken on April 11.
The researchers are particularly interested in Equatorial edge of another crater, even from a distance of 2.4 meters, it is evident that this area is also almost no large boulders.
Over time, researchers will be able to determine more precisely which of these craters is suitable for collecting samples best. A more thorough study of their properties will be done until September 2019 after the machine will go to a lower orbit.
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