After 2 years of traveling in outer space, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft began to receive a photo of the mission’s main objective. This is a primitive asteroid Bennu. Scientists have already begun work on the calibration of these images in preparation for the analysis of those that arrive in December 2018 using color filters.
NASA's mission started on September 8, 2016 and spent 2 years flying to arrive at Bennu in October 2018. The first photos of the asteroid were obtained using one of the three cameras on board the ship at a distance of 330 km. During the shooting, the device turned 1.2 degrees and spent a minute on 8 exposures. The science team used a super-resolution algorithm to merge 8 images and create a higher resolution asteroid. Bennu occupies 100 pixels in the detector, so it is possible to see large boulders on the surface. The first photo of the asteroid Bennu represents a remarkable resemblance to the recently obtained footage from the JAXA Hayabusa-2 Ryugu mission. Now the team can compare their own observations with the results of the Japanese mission. The first shots are incredibly important because they are used for an important number of calibrations.
In December 2018, scientists will begin capturing images using MapCam, another mission camera using color filters. This will allow you to create color maps and study the geographical distribution of various materials on Bennu, including silicates, modified by the presence of liquid water. Researchers must also determine the region from which they will extract the sample and return it to Earth in 2023.