Properties of rubble-pile asteroid (101955) Bennu from OSIRIS-REx imaging and thermal analysis

The OSIRIS-REx Team

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Establishing the abundance and physical properties of regolith and boulders on asteroids is crucial for understanding the formation and degradation mechanisms at work on their surfaces. Using images and thermal data from NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft, we show that asteroid (101955) Bennu’s surface is globally rough, dense with boulders, and low in albedo. The number of boulders is surprising given Bennu’s moderate thermal inertia, suggesting that simple models linking thermal inertia to particle size do not adequately capture the complexity relating these properties. At the same time, we find evidence for a wide range of particle sizes with distinct albedo characteristics. Our findings imply that ages of Bennu’s surface particles span from the disruption of the asteroid’s parent body (boulders) to recent in situ production (micrometre-scale particles).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-351
Number of pages11
JournalNature Astronomy
Volume3
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019

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regolith
piles
asteroids
resources
thermal analysis
albedo
inertia
micrometers
spacecraft
physical properties
degradation

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Cite this

@article{d77300990b664f538c8c47caa762a658,
title = "Properties of rubble-pile asteroid (101955) Bennu from OSIRIS-REx imaging and thermal analysis",
abstract = "Establishing the abundance and physical properties of regolith and boulders on asteroids is crucial for understanding the formation and degradation mechanisms at work on their surfaces. Using images and thermal data from NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft, we show that asteroid (101955) Bennu’s surface is globally rough, dense with boulders, and low in albedo. The number of boulders is surprising given Bennu’s moderate thermal inertia, suggesting that simple models linking thermal inertia to particle size do not adequately capture the complexity relating these properties. At the same time, we find evidence for a wide range of particle sizes with distinct albedo characteristics. Our findings imply that ages of Bennu’s surface particles span from the disruption of the asteroid’s parent body (boulders) to recent in situ production (micrometre-scale particles).",
author = "{The OSIRIS-REx Team} and DellaGiustina, {D. N.} and Emery, {J. P.} and Golish, {D. R.} and B. Rozitis and Bennett, {C. A.} and Burke, {K. N.} and Ballouz, {R. L.} and Becker, {K. J.} and Christensen, {P. R.} and {Drouet d’Aubigny}, {C. Y.} and Hamilton, {V. E.} and Reuter, {D. C.} and B. Rizk and Simon, {A. A.} and E. Asphaug and Bandfield, {J. L.} and Barnouin, {O. S.} and Barucci, {M. A.} and Bierhaus, {E. B.} and Binzel, {R. P.} and Bottke, {W. F.} and Bowles, {N. E.} and H. Campins and Clark, {B. C.} and Clark, {B. E.} and Connolly, {H. C.} and Daly, {M. G.} and Leon, {J. de} and M. Delbo’ and Deshapriya, {J. D.P.} and Elder, {C. M.} and S. Fornasier and Hergenrother, {C. W.} and Howell, {E. S.} and Jawin, {E. R.} and Kaplan, {H. H.} and Kareta, {T. R.} and {Le Corre}, L. and Li, {J. Y.} and J. Licandro and Lim, {L. F.} and P. Michel and J. Molaro and Nolan, {M. C.} and M. Pajola and M. Popescu and Garcia, {J. L.Rizos} and A. Ryan and Schwartz, {S. R.} and N. Shultz",
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Properties of rubble-pile asteroid (101955) Bennu from OSIRIS-REx imaging and thermal analysis. / The OSIRIS-REx Team.

In: Nature Astronomy, Vol. 3, No. 4, 01.04.2019, p. 341-351.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Properties of rubble-pile asteroid (101955) Bennu from OSIRIS-REx imaging and thermal analysis

AU - The OSIRIS-REx Team

AU - DellaGiustina, D. N.

AU - Emery, J. P.

AU - Golish, D. R.

AU - Rozitis, B.

AU - Bennett, C. A.

AU - Burke, K. N.

AU - Ballouz, R. L.

AU - Becker, K. J.

AU - Christensen, P. R.

AU - Drouet d’Aubigny, C. Y.

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AU - Reuter, D. C.

AU - Rizk, B.

AU - Simon, A. A.

AU - Asphaug, E.

AU - Bandfield, J. L.

AU - Barnouin, O. S.

AU - Barucci, M. A.

AU - Bierhaus, E. B.

AU - Binzel, R. P.

AU - Bottke, W. F.

AU - Bowles, N. E.

AU - Campins, H.

AU - Clark, B. C.

AU - Clark, B. E.

AU - Connolly, H. C.

AU - Daly, M. G.

AU - Leon, J. de

AU - Delbo’, M.

AU - Deshapriya, J. D.P.

AU - Elder, C. M.

AU - Fornasier, S.

AU - Hergenrother, C. W.

AU - Howell, E. S.

AU - Jawin, E. R.

AU - Kaplan, H. H.

AU - Kareta, T. R.

AU - Le Corre, L.

AU - Li, J. Y.

AU - Licandro, J.

AU - Lim, L. F.

AU - Michel, P.

AU - Molaro, J.

AU - Nolan, M. C.

AU - Pajola, M.

AU - Popescu, M.

AU - Garcia, J. L.Rizos

AU - Ryan, A.

AU - Schwartz, S. R.

AU - Shultz, N.

PY - 2019/4/1

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N2 - Establishing the abundance and physical properties of regolith and boulders on asteroids is crucial for understanding the formation and degradation mechanisms at work on their surfaces. Using images and thermal data from NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft, we show that asteroid (101955) Bennu’s surface is globally rough, dense with boulders, and low in albedo. The number of boulders is surprising given Bennu’s moderate thermal inertia, suggesting that simple models linking thermal inertia to particle size do not adequately capture the complexity relating these properties. At the same time, we find evidence for a wide range of particle sizes with distinct albedo characteristics. Our findings imply that ages of Bennu’s surface particles span from the disruption of the asteroid’s parent body (boulders) to recent in situ production (micrometre-scale particles).

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