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Surface Thermophysical Properties determination of OSIRIS-REx target asteroid (101955) Bennu

  • Yu, LiangLiang
  • Ji, Jianghui
Published Article
Publication Date
Jun 04, 2015
Submission Date
Jun 04, 2015
DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stv1270
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In this work, we investigate the thermophysical properties of OSIRIS-REx target asteroid (101955) Bennu (hereafter, Bennu), where thermal inertia plays an important role in understanding the nature of the asteroid's surface, and will definitely provide substantial information for the sampling return mission. Using a thermophysical model incorporating the recently updated 3D radar-derived shape model \citep{Nolan2013} and mid-infrared observations of Spitzer-PUI, Spitzer-IRAC, Herschel/PACS and ESO VLT/VISIR \citep{Muller2012,Emery2014}, we derive the surface thermophysical properties of Bennu. The asteroid has an effective diameter of $510^{+6}_{-40}$ m, a geometry albedo of $0.047^{+0.0083}_{-0.0011}$, a roughness fraction of $0.04^{+0.26}_{-0.04}$, and thermal inertia of $240^{+440}_{-60}\rm~Jm^{-2}s^{-0.5}K^{-1}$ for a best-fit solution at 1$\sigma$ level. The best-estimate thermal inertia indicates that fine-grained regolith may cover a large area of Bennu's surface, with a grain size that may range from $1.3$ to $31$~mm, and our outcome further supports that Bennu would be a suitable target for the OSIRIS-REx mission to return samples from the asteroid to Earth.

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