If the sun were the size of a person, how big would an asteroid be?

Aug 05, 2014 by Jason Major, Universe Today
Artist’s concept of OSIRIS-REx at Bennu. Credit: NASA/GSFC

I love anything that attempts to provide a sense of scale about the Solar System (see here and here for even more examples) and this one brings us down past the Sun, planets, and moons all the way to asteroid size—specifically asteroid 101955 Bennu, the target of the upcoming OSIRIS-REx mission.

Created by the OSIRIS-REx "321Science!" team, consisting of communicators, film and graphic arts students, teens, scientists, and engineers, the video shows some relative scales of our planet compared to the Sun, and also the actual size of Bennu in relation to some familiar human-made structures that we're familiar with. (My personal take-away from this: Bennu—one of those "half grains of sand"—is a rather small target!)

A NASA New Frontiers mission, OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer) will launch in Sept. 2016 on a two-year journey to the asteroid 101955 Bennu. Upon arrival OSIRIS-REx will map Bennu's surface and also measure the Yarkovsky effect, by which asteroids' trajectories can change over time due to the small force exerted byradiant heat.

OSIRIS-REx will also attempt to collect and send back a 60-gram sample of the asteroid's surface material.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.


Explore further: Scars on Mars from 2012 rover landing fade—usually

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Bennu: NASA spacecraft will visit asteroid with new name

May 01, 2013

(Phys.org) —An asteroid that will be explored by a NASA spacecraft has a new name, thanks to a third-grade student in North Carolina. NASA's Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith ...

Countdown starts for UA-led asteroid mission

Dec 11, 2013

(Phys.org) —With OSIRIS-REx, the first spacecraft destined to return a sample from a primitive asteroid, still taking shape, the mission's University of Arizona-led team started the official countdown clock on ...

NASA wants your help in finding asteroids

Apr 20, 2012

If you are an amateur astronomer who likes a challenge, NASA has a new project and is looking for a little help from their amateur astronomers friends. Called called “Target Asteroids!” the project ...

Recommended for you

Europe resumes Galileo satnav deployment (Update)

Mar 27, 2015

Europe resumed deployment of its beleaguered Galileo satnav programme on Friday, launching a pair of satellites seven months after a rocket malfunction sent two multi-million euro orbiters awry.

More evidence for groundwater on Mars

Mar 27, 2015

Monica Pondrelli and colleagues investigated the Equatorial Layered Deposits (ELDs) of Arabia Terra in Firsoff crater area, Mars, to understand their formation and potential habitability. On the plateau, ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.