July 27, 2023
Lauretta, Director of NASA Mission OSIRIS-REx, explained to reporter Henry Brean how he started working with Brian May, “Brian and I corresponded briefly about the mission and my hometown of Tucson, Arizona, where he had spent some time enjoying the natural beauty of the Sonoran Desert and using it for self-reflection, as many do.”
Lauretta had always been a fan of Brian May’s music, May was a founding member of the band Queen. Lauretta mentioned that Queen’s song “Under Pressure,” helped him through some tough times as a kid.
Lauretta said, “The fact that I was corresponding with one of my childhood heroes was beyond cool.”
Lauretta told Brean that he May kept in touch as the mission progressed. Lauretta said, “I couldn’t help but share some of the latest developments with him. To my delight, Brian showed a keen interest in the mission and the science behind it. It was clear that he was not just a casual fan, but a true space enthusiast and an advocate for space exploration.”
After Lauretta invited May to officially join the team, May and his London Stereoscopic team went to work. May and his collaborator, Claudia Manzoni, used early, publicly available data collected by the spacecraft to produce stereoscopic images that showed Bennu’s rugged and dangerous landscape in what Lauretta describes as “glorious 3-D.”
Watch preparation behind the scenes and evening book launch from London on Thursday, July 27. Live streaming starts at noon (GMT+1), 2:00 a.m. AZT, on Brian May’s Instagram: @brianmayforreal.
About Bennu 3-D, Anatomy of an Asteroid:
The world’s first complete (and stereoscopic) atlas of an asteroid is the result of a unique collaboration between OSIRIS-REx mission leader Dante Lauretta and Brian May’s London Stereoscopic Company. Lauretta’s colleagues include Carina Bennett, Kenneth Coles, and Cat Wolner, as well as Brian May and Claudia Manzoni, who became part of the ultimately successful effort to find a safe landing site for sampling. The text details the data collected by the mission so far, and the stereo images have been meticulously created by Manzoni and May from original images collected by the OSIRIS-REx cameras.
The print edition includes 120 illustrations, 50 maps, 80 stereoscopic images, and stereoscopic glasses.