Engineering students and public get an opportunity to take a sneak peek into visualising an asteroid in space thanks to Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary and Canadian Space Agency (CSA) as part of Beakerhead.

The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-Rex) is NASA’s mission to collect a sample from a 500-metre wide asteroid named Bennu to bring back to Earth. The OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft was successfully launched on September 8 and is expected to reach Bennu in 2018 to map the entire surface before returning with a 60-gram sample. The seven-year mission hopes to answer fundamental questions about the formation of the solar system and avoiding asteroid impacts.

Through the event organised at the Schulich School of Engineering, students will be able to see real-world engineering and to see current opportunities in the engineering profession according to Marjan Eggermont, associate dean (student affairs) at the Schulich School of Engineering.

Canada has played a major role in the OSIRIS-REx mission by developing the OSIRIS-REx the Laser Altimeter (OLA) that will perform the key function of mapping out the whole asteroid Bennu based on which a 3D map will be created. OLA is a scanning LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) and will emit laser pulses at the asteroid’s surface to provide high-resolution topographical information about Bennu during the mission. OLA’s measurements will also assist with navigation and gravity analyses.

More than 850 first-year engineering students will take part in an hour-long presentation for their ENGG 200, Communications and Design course in the morning. A demonstration for the campus community and public will follow in the early afternoon.

Students and will be shown how OLA scans the room to map and take images and then students will be able to download the holographic images.

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Lawrence John is a senior editor at TopExaminer. He has worked in the retail industry for more than 8 years. He loves to write detailed product reviews.

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