Altimeter, Ninety Gale Crater, Dante Lauretta discussed on Astronomy Cast

Astronomy Cast
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Watch together launch in september of two thousand sixteen and this little mission. I was one that had the youngest nasa of spacecraft today dante lauretta. It was run by really cool. Team of people university of arizona working with international partners nasa centers myriad of other institutions and. Canada had a laser altimeter. The sample they collected is going to end up getting split between the canadian team with that laser. Altimeter that we're going to return to because it was not used as planned the japanese team that they're going to be doing an exchange between The sample that comes back and the new sample that comes back. And then the rest is heading off to arizona for processing so in this case cyrus rex arrived at banu. In december of two thousand and eighteen. We began to get our first high-resolution images in two thousand and nineteen which caused me for one to completely panic. You have a little little skin in the game on this. One i did i did. So the cosmic christ citizen science community was part of the process for mapping out all the hazards benue. Now as i said before we expected benue to look a bit like eat akaba mostly smooth with areas. That were hazardous. We were expecting most of the images that came back would have a few boulders boulders. A few dozen rocks and we just map things out no big deal. The reality was each image had dozens of boulders and hundreds of rocks and all the software that we had written the process. Everything and sort everything. Do everything had to get redone to deal with the complexity of this little world that we found and making it even worse as the space craft approached benue cyrus wrecks in its camera glint of light from pebbles being flung by bhanu space. We had found a rock throwing asteroid. Right right yeah. I mean it's funny when i think i think it was donte was saying the landings the final landing site. That was chosen. I would not want to land a spacecraft. They're like it's a nightmare and yet it was the best possible landing site on on a nightmare rock. Yeah they they had to change their hazard conditions to go from having a area big enough to park a couple semi trucks to having an area big enough to park a couple. Suv's as their safety margin. And so they had this need to find some place that they could go down not hit the wings of the spacecraft on anything and that would be smooth enough that in all likelihood when they're tag instrument which is a flat disk hit the surface it would hit flat in the space craft wouldn't tell more than a few degrees and it turned out the only places that vaguely matched these conditions were areas. That were either craters creditors inside of craters. And these weren't normal looking craters. What these were areas where the rocks were more smashed than the regions around them and smashed rocks were in a fairly circular pattern indicating. This is a crater with the rocks. There got crushed Ninety gale crater where. They ended up. Doing their sample collection was in the northern part of the asteroid about fifty five degrees latitude and it was a crater with a few boulders that they.

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