© NASA / GSFC
OSIRIS-REx is a NASA mission to collect samples from the asteroid Bennu with the aim of learning more about the history of our solar system. We designed a Laser Altimeter for the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to allow it to scan and measure the asteroid from 7 kilometres away down to 225 metres from its surface. Launched in 2016, the spacecraft reached Bennu in 2018, collected a sample in October 2020, and will return to Earth with samples in 2023.
© NASA / Goddard / University of Arizona
Our laser scanning system accurately mapped the asteroid over the course of a year, creating a detailed 3D model with data about the shape and distribution of surface features like boulders, craters and slopes. Its work was essential in determining the optimal sample collection locations.
- 288 million km – Bennu’s current distance from Earth
- 3 billion – The number of laser measurements we captured on Bennu’s surface
- 5X – The increase in number of scans we completed compared to the original plan
- 492 m – Bennu’s width