1 Introduction</h5> The Apollo Asteroid (101955) Bennu, a half-kilometer near-Earth asteroid previously designated 1999 RQ 36 , is the target of the OSIRIS-REx sample return mission. A prime objective of the mission is to measure the Yarkovsky effect on this asteroid and constrain the properties that contribute to this effect. This objective is satisfied both by direct measurement of the acceleration imparted by anisotropic emission of thermal radiation, the first results of which are reported here, and by constructing a global thermophysical model of the asteroid to confirm the underlying principles that give rise to this effect.</P>Bennu was discovered by the LINEAR asteroid survey in September 1999. Since then, more than 500 optical observations have been obtained for this Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA). Moreover, the asteroid was observed using radar by the Arecibo and Goldstone radio telescopes during three different apparitions. Thanks to this rich observational data set, Bennu has one of the most precise orbits in the catalog of known near-Earth asteroids. The exceptional precision of the Bennu orbit allows one to push the horizon for predicting possible Earth impacts beyond the 100 years typically used for impact monitoring ( Milani et al., 2005 ), and indeed
Icarus – Elsevier
Published: Jun 1, 2014
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