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Forum:Satellites - Robotic Probes
Topic:OSIRIS-REx to asteroid Bennu: Viewing, comments
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Robert PearlmanToday's news regarding the naming of asteroid (101955) 1999 RQ36 as "Bennu" has a collectSPACE connection.
The name is the winning entry in an international student contest. Michael Puzio, a nine-year-old in North Carolina, suggested the name because he imagined the Touch-and-Go Sample Mechanism (TAGSAM) arm and solar panels on OSIRIS-REx look like the like neck and wings in drawings of Bennu, which Egyptians usually depicted as a gray heron.
Michael is the son of cS member Larry Puzio (cS: lspooz)!

Congratulations Michael and Larry! Very nice to have an asteroid namer among our extended community!

lspoozAnd thanks to collectSPACE, where I first found the link to NASA and the Planetary Society's contest back on Labor Day.
lspoozWe're looking forward to the Sept. 8 launch of the OSIRIS-REx mission, and tomorrow NASA TV will feature the traditional 'L-14' press briefing (Dr. Dante Lauretta and other project leaders will present to the media and field questions).

The broadcast at 2 p.m. EDT will live stream here.

Robert PearlmanGreat to hear Dante Lauretta during today's briefing give credit to Michael (Puzio) for naming Bennu. See 40 minutes, 20 seconds into this video:

Robert PearlmanPhotos from this morning's rollout of the Atlas V with OSIRIS-REx to Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station:

ejectrI saw the launch from as far as one can go on Playalinda Beach, about 5 miles from the launch.

What a sight to see. And the shuttle pads are right next to you. What a place to witness a shuttle launch or next a SpaceX launch.

Larry McGlynnI watched it from the Causeway. It was about 3 miles across the water from us. It was a beautiful launch that was highlighted by the setting Sun.
lspoozOur family watched from the Operations Support Building-II about 3 miles away (first launch ever) and I was stunned at the feel of the noise and the brightness of the flame, smaller and brighter than the sun and most reminiscent of a welding torch.

(Photo credit: NASA)

The Planetary Society hosts and the NASA support personnel made the entire launch day just incredible. With the 7:05 p.m. launch the setting sun made for an interesting effect:

(Photo credit: Arizona Central)

WehaveliftoffIn celebration of the successful launch of the University of Arizona's third mission into space (after Juno and New Horizons), members of the team were invited onto the field.
Robert Pearlman
Wave to OSIRIS-REx

This fall, NASA's asteroid-hunting spacecraft, OSIRIS-REx, will fly by Earth and use the planet's gravitational force to slingshot itself out into space. This maneuver, known as an Earth Gravity Assist, will put OSIRIS-REx on course to visit asteroid Bennu, where it will collect a sample of some of the oldest material in the solar system. While the engineering team is busy carrying out the Earth Gravity Assist, the mission invites members the public to mark the occasion by participating in the Wave to OSIRIS-REx social media campaign.

  • How to join:

    Take a picture of yourself or your group waving to OSIRIS-REx as it approaches Earth. Then share your photo using the hashtag #HelloOSIRISREx and tagging the mission account on Twitter (@OSIRISREx) or Instagram (@OSIRIS_REx). Bonus: Download these printable graphics to include in your photo.

  • When:

    Start posting pictures as soon as you like, or wait until the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft makes its closest approach to Earth at 16:52 UTC/12:52 ET/9:52 PT on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017.

  • Who:

    People all over the world! Science centers, air and space museums, K-12 classes, universities and other groups are also encouraged to gather a crowd for a photo during the spacecraft's flyby on Sept. 22. Planning a group photo at your facility? Let us know. Contact us.

SpaceAholicNASA/University of Arizona release
Spot the Spacecraft

On Sept. 22, NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will make a close approach to Earth, using the planet's gravity to slingshot itself toward the asteroid Bennu. Over the course of several days, observatories and amateur astronomers with specialized equipment will be able to see OSIRIS-REx as the spacecraft approaches and retreats from its closest position over Earth, approximately 11,000 miles (17,000 km) above the planet's surface.

The mission will collect images of OSIRIS-REx taken by observatories and other ground-based telescopes around the world during this period – approximately Sept. 10-23, depending on location and local conditions. Observers from the OSIRIS-REx Target Asteroids! citizen science program, who regularly volunteer their time to help scientists study near-Earth asteroids, will be among those who train their telescopes on the spacecraft's path.

"The opportunity to capture images of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft as it approaches Earth provides a unique challenge for observers to hone their skills during this historic flyby," said Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator at the University of Arizona, Tucson. "As the spacecraft approaches Earth for its own imaging campaign, ground-based observers will also be looking up and taking photos from the opposite perspective."

Individuals and groups may submit images of the spacecraft via the mission's website, where instructions to locate the spacecraft in the sky are also available.

"The team is eager and ready to execute the Earth Gravity Assist," said Rich Burns, OSIRIS-REx project manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greeenbelt, Maryland. "Not only will it be a significant change in trajectory putting OSIRIS-REx on track for rendezvous with Bennu, it also represents a unique opportunity for the OSIRIS-REx instruments to observe our home planet. It is fantastic that ground based observers are also taking the opportunity to image OSIRIS-REx."

The images collected during the Earth gravity assist represent the last opportunity for Earth-based observers to see the spacecraft — until it returns to Earth in 2023 carrying a sample from asteroid Bennu.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the home institution of several OSIRIS-REx science team members, will also work with the Japan Public Observatory Society and the Planetary Society of Japan to collect imagery from vantage points in Japan.

Shortly before OSIRIS-REx reaches its closest distance from Earth, the spacecraft will fly over the eastern half of Australia, giving observers there some of the best opportunities to see and photograph the spacecraft. The Desert Fireball Network — an organization based at Curtin University, Perth, that studies meteorites, fireballs and their pre-Earth orbits—will deploy observers to locations around Australia to track OSIRIS-REx across the sky.

Members of the public without telescopes can still celebrate the Earth Gravity Assist by joining the "Wave to OSIRIS-REx" social media campaign. Individuals and groups from anywhere in the world are encouraged to take photos of themselves waving to OSIRIS-REx, share them using the hashtag #HelloOSIRISREx and tag the mission account in their posts on Twitter (@OSIRISREx) or Instagram (@OSIRIS_REx).

Participants may begin taking and sharing photos at any time — or wait until the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft makes its closest approach to Earth at 12:52 p.m. EDT on Friday, Sept. 22.

Robert PearlmanOSIRIS-REx photo release
This color composite image of Earth and the Moon was taken Oct. 2, 2017, 10 days after OSIRIS-REx performed its Earth Gravity Assist maneuver, using MapCam, the mid-range scientific camera onboard the spacecraft. The distance to Earth was approximately 3,180,000 miles (5,120,000 km) — about 13 times the distance between the Earth and Moon.

MapCam, part of the OSIRIS-REx Camera Suite (OCAMS) operated by the University of Arizona, has four color filters. To produce this image, three of them (b, v and w) were treated as a blue-green-red triplet, co-registered and stacked. The Earth and Moon were each color-corrected, and the Moon was "stretched" (brightened) to make it more easily visible.

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