This week in astronomy news, the Osiris-REX spacecraft entered the orbit around the asteroid Bennu, while Juno from NASA broke photographs of Jupiter Io's volcanic flare moon.
Osiris-REX enters orbit around Bennu
As many were waiting for the New Horizons on New Year's Day, another NASA spacecraft has already reached a major milestone on the New Year's Eve. Osiris-REX entered the orbit around the stunning Bennu at 2:43 pm. EST on December 31st. At just 492 meters (almost one-third of a mile), stone is the smallest object ever orbited by a spacecraft. Osiris-REX will circle Bennu a mile from his center – closer than Rosetta has ever come to his comet. This close orbit will help the spaceship stay stuck on its target, despite Bennu's weak gravity field.
The orbital insertion disappeared without any link, after a preliminary study of Bennu's surface. The current orbit will continue until mid-February, after which the team plans for more difficult flight operations. The purpose of this is to measure and map Bennu's mass distribution with extraordinary precision. Knowledge of Bennu's gravity will be crucial to the recovery of evidence, scheduled for the summer of 2020. The sample is due to Earth in 2023.
Find out more about the delicacy of orbital introduction in the Osiris-REX press release.
Images Juno Images of volcanic moon Jupiter Io
The Juno NASA poll depicted the polar regions of Jupiter's moon on December 21, imagining the worlds at ultraviolet, optical and infrared wavelengths for over an hour. The images captured an active volcanic eruption erupting at the right time, seen as a bright spot just beyond the terminator (day / night limit).
"The earth is already in the shade, but the height of the snow allows it to reflect the sunlight," explains JunoCam, the director of Candice Hansen-Koharcheck ("Planetary Sciences Institute") "similar to how the pillars or clouds on Earth continue to be lit after the sun and put. "
Juno continued to imagine his moon even after he entered the shadow of Jupiter. The star reference unit, designed to capture images in very low light, saw Io from the sunlight reflecting the surface of Europe and Io.
Read on for more details about the Southwest Research Institute's press release.