In the picture:
Here’s a sample return capsule from NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission. It is seen shortly after touching down in the desert, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, at the Department of Defense’s Utah Test and Training Range. This sample was collected from the asteroid Bennu in October 2020 by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft.
Just this year, we learned that Goddard’s GIANT optical navigation software helped guide the OSIRIS-REx mission to the Asteroid Bennu. Now, its developers continue to add functionality and streamline its useability for future missions.
For the team that helped navigate the mission on its journey, they have gotten refinement of their technology for potential use in future robotic and crewed missions.
The optical navigation team at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, served as a backup navigation resource for the OSIRIS-REx and double-checked the primary navigation team’s work to prove the viability of navigation by visual cues.
Optical navigation uses observations from cameras, lidar, or other sensors to navigate just the way humans do. According to the experts, this cutting edge technology works by taking pictures of a target, such as Bennu, and identifying landmarks on the surface.
Nice work, guys.