Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

 
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.


He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

 
Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit.
 

Another movie of OSIRIS-REx’s sample-grab-and-go at Bennu

The OSIRIS-REx science team has released another movie showing the sample-grab-and-go at Bennu, this time from a different camera.

The movie, made up of 189 images taken over three hours by the spacecraft’s navigation camera NavCam-2, can be seen at the link.

In the middle of the sequence, the spacecraft slews, or rotates, so that NavCam 2 looks away from Bennu, toward space. OSIRIS-REx then performs a final slew to point the camera (and the sampling arm) toward the surface again.

As the spacecraft nears site Nightingale, the sampling arm’s shadow comes into view in the lower part of the frame. Shortly after, the sampling head impacts site Nightingale (just outside the camera’s field of view to the upper right) and fires a nitrogen gas bottle, which mobilizes a substantial amount of the sample site’s material. Several seconds later, the spacecraft performs a back-away burn and the sampling arm’s shadow is visible against the disturbed surface material.

The team continues to investigate what caused the extremely dark areas visible in the upper and middle parts of the frame. The upper area could be the edge of the depression created by the sampling arm, a strong shadow cast by material lofted from the surface, or some combination of the two. Similarly, the middle dark region that first appears in the lower left of the image could be a depression caused by one of the spacecraft thrusters as it fired, a shadow caused by lofted material, or a combination of both.

It strikes me that getting post impact images of Nightingale is essential, if at all possible.

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4 comments

  • John

    WOW! You can really appreciate how small and rubble-pile-ish Bennu is. The after contact part is really neat. I can see how they were concerned. It came apart so easily.

  • MDN

    For all future sampling missions I think it would be a good idea to include a small spin stabilized satellite camera that would be ejected during decent at a safe enough distance to image the sample grab as well as the immediate aftermath (i.e. crater and ejecta). Such a device should only add a kilo or less to the spacecraft mass budget, but could proved excellent high resolution imagery I expect would be of great scientific value.

    MHO anyway.

  • Jeff

    The citizen scientists/image wizards over at UMSF have been busy dissecting/recombining these images. Here is the most impressive I’ve seen this morning: (click on image for animation)

    http://www.unmannedspaceflight.com/index.php?showtopic=8573&st=30&p=248477&#entry248477

    Wonderful 3D effect.

  • Steve Richter

    “… For all future sampling missions I think it would be a good idea to include a small spin stabilized satellite camera that would be ejected during decent at a safe enough distance to image the sample grab as well as the immediate aftermath …”

    or a solar powered bot that could keep itself situated on or near the surface of the asteroid. Could a bot manuever itself around the asteroid, not with fuel, but mechanical action within the bot itself? If there is a weight that is accelerated along a rail within the bot using electricity from the solar array, would that move the bot relative to the asteroid?

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