Mass and shape determination of (101955) bennu using differenced data from multiple OSIRIS-REx mission phases

Sander Goossens, David D. Rowlands, Erwan Mazarico, Andrew J. Liounis, Jeffrey L. Small, Dolan E. Highsmith, Jason C. Swenson, Joshua R. Lyzhoft, Benjamin W. Ashman, Kenneth M. Getzandanner, Jason M. Leonard, Jeroen L. Geeraert, Coralie D. Adam, Peter G. Antreasian, Olivier S. Barnouin, Michael G. Daly, Jeffrey A. Seabrook, Dante S. Lauretta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission collected a sample from the rubble-pile asteroid (101955) Bennu for return to Earth. For the successful Touch And Go sample acquisition maneuver, the shape and mass of the asteroid needed to be known precisely. Here we use a combination of radiometric, image landmark, and laser altimetry data to determine Bennu's mass, shape, and orientation simultaneously and to verify existing models thereof. Our shape determination consists of estimating a scale factor and three frame rotation angles that apply to both the global digital terrain model (GDTM) and the landmark coordinates. We use a data type called image constraints, where we take the difference of the observation of the same landmark in images taken at two different times. We analyze data from two phases of the OSIRIS-REx mission, Orbital B and Recon B, and show that interphase image constraints greatly reduce interdependencies between estimated parameters for mass, GDTM scale, and biases on the altimetry data. This results in an improved solution for the mass and shape relative to considering a single mission phase. We find Bennu's gravitational parameter GM to be 4.89256 ± 0.00035 m3s-2, and we find a scale factor of 1.000896 ± 0.00036 for the altimetry-based GDTM. Using the scaled volume, this results in a bulk density of 1191.57 ± 1.74 kg m-3, which is within the uncertainties of previous analyses but more precise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number219
JournalPlanetary Science Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Gravitational fields (667)
  • Small Solar System bodies (1469)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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