NASA's OSIRIS-REx Tech: Mapping an Asteroid with Lasers

NASA's Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) will launch in September 2016 and travel to the near-Earth asteroid Bennu to harvest a sample of surface material and return it to Earth for study. Before the science team can select a sample site, it needs to learn about the asteroid's topography. The OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter (OLA) is provided by the Canadian Space Agency and will be used to create three-dimensional global topographic maps of Bennu and local maps of candidate sample sites.