The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has been at asteroid Bennu since December 2018 with the goal of gathering samples from the space rock and returning it back to Earth for further analysis.
For that the team needs to find a safe landing and sample collection side, a task which is not really easy.
The team discovered that one of the biggest challenges for this is that Bennu has an extremely rocky surface and each boulder poses a great danger to the craft’s safety.
Thus, in order to speed up the sample selection process, the team has requested citizen scientist volunteers to develop a hazard map by counting boulders.
In order to begin mapping, the volunteer is first given a tutorial to get started along with additional user assistance and live streaming sessions. One would require a large computer screen, and a mouse or trackpad to make precise marks.
The Bennu mapping campaign will continue till July 10, 2019, when the mission begins the sample site selection process. As soon as primary and secondary sites are selected, the spacecraft will initiate closer reconnaissance to map the two sites to sub-centimeter resolution.
The mission’s sampling maneuver is scheduled for July 2020, and the spacecraft will return to Earth with its cargo in September 2023.