OSIRIS-REx team releases new images from spacecraft - Tucson News Now

OSIRIS-REx team releases new images from spacecraft

Newest image of Earth is actually several photos put together. (Source: Tucson News Now) Newest image of Earth is actually several photos put together. (Source: Tucson News Now)
(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

What looks like a glamor shot of Earth scanned by OSIRIS-REx after its "slingshot" trip around the planet is proof that the mission team in Tucson and all of its equipment passed the test.

Tuesday, Sept. 26 the team shared images of Earth captured by OSIRIS-REx as it moved away from the planet Friday, Sept. 22.

The spacecraft was briefly out of reach as it passed below Antarctica that day. Once everything was back online, it was time to go to work.

"Everything on the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, including the science instruments, performed absolutely flawlessly," said mission leader Dante Lauretta.

He joked that everyone worked late the night the first images were expected to be down linked to Tucson. A large screen was ready with a projector, but someone pulled it up on a laptop first.

"We all dove over across the table to see what was on the screen," he said. "We were so nervous and excited that we couldn't get the cable plugged into the right spot of the computer, everybody was so amped up and excited to see this image come home."

The image from approximately 105,000 miles away is a composite of several scans of the Earth with different filters. OSIRIS-REx is designed to scan and map asteroid Bennu, which will be much darker than our home planet. 

"It's going to have a more irregular shape than earth, so mapping for a body like that...becomes a little more challenging," said Lead Image Processing Scientist Dina DellaGiustina. "And we have plenty of software to deal with that, but exercising that will be something that we really do for the first time when we get to asteroid Bennu."

It will be the first time anyone has seen the asteroid. DellaGiustina said they will need to map out Bennu before attempting to land on it and collect samples.

Everyone in the Old Pueblo should be proud that they're connected to the mission because the southwest United States can be seen in the Earth image, according to Lauretta. As the spacecraft travels farther away from the planet, it remains connected to Tucson.

"This town has an enormous amount of expertise and it's all happening right here in your backyard," said Lauretta. "The greatest adventure is still in front of us. Next year is asteroid Bennu and we want everyone to come along with us on that journey." 

MOBILE USERS: Download our app on your Apple and Android devices.

Copyright 2017 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

  • Local newsMore>>

  • Local grocery store hours for Thanksgiving

    Local grocery store hours for Thanksgiving

    Wednesday, November 22 2017 9:24 PM EST2017-11-23 02:24:54 GMT

    Looking for a last minute Thanksgiving item?   Here's a quick list of hours for local grocery stores, as always you may want to call your local store before heading out.

    Looking for a last minute Thanksgiving item?   Here's a quick list of hours for local grocery stores, as always you may want to call your local store before heading out.

  • Final: N.C. State 90, Arizona 84

    Final: Arizona N.C. State

    Wednesday, November 22 2017 9:12 PM EST2017-11-23 02:12:36 GMT

    Cats suffer first loss of the season.

    Cats suffer first loss of the season.

  • Possible bad news for a nuisance bear in Rio Rico

    Possible bad news for a nuisance bear in Rio Rico

    Wednesday, November 22 2017 8:30 PM EST2017-11-23 01:30:36 GMT
    Nuisance bear in Rio Rico (Source: Arizona Game and Fish Department/YouTube)Nuisance bear in Rio Rico (Source: Arizona Game and Fish Department/YouTube)

    It may be bad news for a bear spotted several times in an area in Rio Rico the last few weeks, state wildlife workers may have to put it down.  However, they may not have to kill it, IF neighbors change their ways. 

    It may be bad news for a bear spotted several times in an area in Rio Rico the last few weeks, state wildlife workers may have to put it down.  However, they may not have to kill it, IF neighbors change their ways. 

Powered by Frankly