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NASA has selected four potential sites for asteroid samples for OSIRIS-REx



The fact that OSIRIS-Rex was designed to identify sight points with a radius of 82 meters made things even more difficult. In order to find four stone-free areas, the mission team had to adjust the process of identifying the spacecraft's sample location so that it could detect locations within a radius of 16 to 33 feet. Scientists also had to increase the accuracy of their navigation skills to be able to target smaller places than expected.

The OSIRIS-Rex team adhered to an Egyptian-themed mission scheme and christened the four sites of Nightingale, Kingfisher, Osprey and Sandpiper – all birds originating in Egypt. They differ in geological features: saliva contains fine-grained dark materials, Kingfisher has hydrated minerals, Osprey may have carbon-rich materials, while Sandpiper can provide water-rich samples. OSIRIS-REx will capture large-scale images from four locations this fall and analyze them in detail. This will provide the mission team with the information necessary to select a primary and backup sample of the site in December.


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