The OSIRIS-REx Camera Suite (OCAMS) consists of the PolyCam, the MapCam, and the SamCam. Together they capture (or acquire) asteroid Bennu and provide global mapping, sample site reconnaissance and characterization, high-resolution imaging, and record the sample acquisition.
PolyCam, an 8-inch telescope, is the first to acquire the asteroid at long range and images it at high resolution from closer ranges.
MapCam searches for satellites and outgassing plumes. It maps the asteroid in 4 different colors, informs our model of asteroid shape and provides high resolution imaging of the sample-site.
SamCam continuously documents the sample acquisitions.
More Information: Detailed Specifications and Instrument Operations
If any of these cameras should fail, each imager is backed up by one of the other two imagers. PolyCam can map the asteroid at 1-meter resolution in multiple colors, while also searching for satellites, outgassing and performing detailed sample-site reconnaissance. It can also perform imaging to verify the spacecraft/Bennu relative velocity. MapCam can detect Bennu at long-range; its larger plate scale extends its sensitivity by exposing for longer periods. SamCam achieves mm-scale imaging during the during the sample collection, allowing it to be a second source for small-scale imaging within the sample error ellipse.
The spacecraft computer controls OCAMS operation during the mission. Commands are submitted and stored as scheduled sequences. They operate the filter wheel, the cameras, the heaters and the lamps of an in-flight calibration tracing system.
OCAMS is the latest in a long line of University of Arizona built space-qualified cameras that include Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP), Huygens Descent Imager and Spectral Radiometer (DISR), Phoenix Surface Stereo Imager (SSI), and Phoenix Robotic Arm Camera (RAC). Its three cameras provide overlapping capabilities in long-range navigation imaging, scientific mapping, sample-site reconnaissance, and sample-collection documentation, and they fulfill all mission and science imaging requirements.
The OCAMS team is led by Peter Smith (IS; Instrument Scientist), Bashar Rizk (DIS; Deputy Instrument Scientist), and Chuck Fellows (IM; Instrument Manager).