Geologic Context of the OSIRIS-REx Sample Site from High-resolution Topography and ImagingOPEN ACCESS 

O. S. Barnouin, E. R. Jawin, R. T. Daly, R.-L. Ballouz, M. G. Daly, J. A. Seabrook, P. Michel, Y. Zhang, C. L. Johnson, K. J. Walsh, M. M. Al Asad, R. Gaskell, J. Weirich, E. Palmer, E. B. Bierhaus, M. C. Nolan, C. W. V. Wolner and D. S. Lauretta

The Planetary Science Journal, Volume 3, Number 4
Published: 5 April 2022


“The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft collected a surface sample from Hokioi crater (55.8° N, 42.3° E; diameter ∼20 m) on the asteroid Bennu in 2020 October. We explore the geology of the sample collection site, known as Nightingale, by using digital terrain models, relative albedo maps, and images collected by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. Hokioi crater sits at the northwest edge of an older, larger (120 m diameter) crater between two north–south ridges respectively located at roughly 0° and 90° longitude, between which unconsolidated material generally migrates from the geopotential high at the north (+Z) pole to the geopotential low at the equator. The impact that formed Hokioi crater exposed relatively unweathered, fine-grained dark material that we observe within and ejected beyond the crater. The regional slope and steep crater walls to the north of the Nightingale site have enabled a mix of the dark debris and brighter material (which may include carbonates and/or exogenic basalts) surrounding Hokioi crater to migrate onto the crater floor, where the sample was collected; some of this material may be old ejecta excavated from up to 10 m depth when the 120 m diameter crater formed. We therefore expect the OSIRIS-REx sample to include materials of varying brightnesses, compositions, and exposure ages, derived primarily from the 0°–90° longitude quadrant and from as deep as 10 m. The sample may also include material derived from the impactor that formed Hokioi crater. We expect it to have low cohesion (≪0.6 Pa) and a friction angle between 32° and 39°.”