Join Hannah Kaplan (NASA) for a talk discussing spectral investigation of asteroid Bennu with the OSIRIS-REx Mission


Contributed by Cheryl Gunther

Please join IC Physics and Astronomy in welcoming Hannah Kaplan (NASA) on Tuesday at 12:10 PM!

On Tuesday, October 20 at 12:10 PM, Hannah Kaplan (NASA) will be discussing spectral investigation of asteroid Bennu with the OSIRIS-REx Mission. Here are some more details about the talk!  

OSIRIS-REx is a spacecraft mission to near-earth asteroid (101955) Bennu that will collect and return a sample from the asteroid to Earth. Two spectrometers on the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft measured the visible, near-infrared and thermal-infrared wavelengths of light reflected or emitted from the asteroid over multiple years of observation. This spectral data can be used to determine the chemistry and mineralogy of the asteroid, which in turn tell about its origin and geologic history.  

Major findings from the spectrometers include: the presence of hydrated minerals across the surface of Bennu, organic materials, and the minerals magnetite and carbonate. Our new understanding of Bennu’s composition provided by OSIRIS-REx suggests that the asteroid experienced substantial aqueous alteration, minor to moderate heating, surface contamination for impactors, and ongoing alteration from space weathering. Through the lens of Bennu’s composition, Dr. Kaplan will describe Bennu’s history and implications for the returned sample.  

Special Update!  NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will touch-and-go (TAG) and retrieve a sample of asteroid Bennu on Tuesday, 20-October-2020.  The Orbit Departure Maneuver is scheduled for 1:50 pm EDT and we should receive confirmation of TAG touchdown at 6:11 pm EDT (Earth Receive Time for both).  For more information, visit the NASA website:

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