Surveying an Asteroid with Light

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is on a mission explore to near-Earth asteroid Bennu, a carbon-rich body that may contain clues to the origins of life. OSIRIS-REx is equipped with a suite of technologies designed to map and study Bennu in unprecedented detail. The OSIRIS-REx Visible and Infrared Spectrometer, or OVIRS, will look at the asteroid’s spectral signature to detect organics and other minerals. After OSIRIS-REx has thoroughly surveyed Bennu from orbit, will descend to the surface and collect a sample of the asteroid for return to Earth in 2023. In this video, OVIRS instrument scientists Dennis Reuter and Amy Simon discuss the challenges and rewards of sending a spectrometer into deep space.

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