Asteroid Bennu is one of the Near-Earth Objects that is currently being studied by NASA.
The space agency has a craft orbiting the rock, designated Osiris Rex. A new map is presently being traced for the asteroid, and it will probably feature mythological bird names.
Somewhere in an office, a person has been tasked with naming every bit and bob found on a space mission. For the purpose of efficiency, the International Astronomical Union will approve all the names chosen for various space objects.
Mapping Asteroid Bennu
Asteroid Bennu is currently mapped by the Osiris Rex probe. The task will not take that long, seeing that the rock is 492 meters long. Mapping the asteroid is necessary because the team running the mission needs to find a suitable place for the probe to land. Osiris Rex is scheduled to land on the surface of the asteroid, collect a sample and fly back to Earth.
For an accurate map to be drawn, the terrain needs to be split into classes. And names need to be devised for pretty much every notable crater, peak, ridge, and trench. Someone has a deadline to make in coming up with the names as they need to be ready in a few weeks.
NASA’s Osiris Rex Mission
Keeping with the mythological name of the probe itself, aviary names from mythology will be chosen. The probe’s designation is the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer. It is the first US mission to bring back a sample from a Near-Earth object.
The probe was launched in late September 2016 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. It hitched a ride on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 411 rocket to pierce the atmosphere. Osiris Rex managed to reach Asteroid Bennu in late 2018 and entered orbit around it.
Due to debris from the asteroid, Osiris Rex was forced to perform the closes orbit ever recorded, at 1.6 kilometers from the surface. NASA is expecting the probe to come back to Earth in September 2023.