A NASA-led team has identified a sample collection site on Asteroid Bennu for a certain investigative mission, following a year of assessments.
The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer or OSIRIS-Rex team selected the "Nightingale" site due to the abundance of fine-grained material and low amount of hazards, NASA said Friday.
Nightingale was among four candidate sites that the team selected based on safety. The other sites were Osprey, Kingfisher and Sandpiper.
“After thoroughly evaluating all four candidate sites, we made our final decision based on which site has the greatest amount of fine-grained material and how easily the spacecraft can access that material while keeping the spacecraft safe,” said Dante Lauretta, principal investigator for OSIRIS-REx at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
The university leads the mission's scientific activities, while NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center performs systems engineering, mission assurance and administrative efforts. Lockheed Martin provided the mission's spacecraft and KinetX Aerospace supports navigation.