August 29, 2023
In England, The Guardian newspaper featured Bennu 3-D, Anatomy of an Asteroid and its authors in the week leading up to the book launch at the London Museum of Natural History on July 27. Dante Lauretta told his side of the story about how he and Brian May came to collaborate: “As the OSIRIS-REx mission progressed, 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.” Lauretta eventually brought May on to the mission, who, alongside his collaborator Claudia Manzoni, created stereo images from original images that were collected by the OSIRIS-REx cameras.
Space.com’s Tereza Pultarova interviewed Brian May, co-author of Bennu 3-D. She spoke with May about his role in bringing stereoscopic photography to the OSIRIS-REx NASA mission.
The rock-star-turned-astrophysicist explained how he came to be part of the team: “So what happened with me and Dante, is that I sent him just off the cuff a couple of OSIRIS-REx images which I’d made into 3D. And he was amazed. He said ‘I have never seen it like this, this is such a great tool and this might be able to help us find the landing site that we need in order to get that sample safely.'”
In another article focusing on the book, Space.com listed May’s other scientific projects. May, who holds a PhD in astronomy, had previously collaborated with the science teams behind Europe’s comet-chasing Rosetta probe and NASA’s Pluto explorer New Horizons. He joined the OSIRIS-REx team in January 2019, a few months after the probe reached its destination, after striking up a friendship with Lauretta over shared interests.
In fact, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx chief scientist Dante Lauretta and Brian May challenge Space.com readers to photograph objects in the solar system. The prize? A signed copy of Bennu 3-D, Anatomy of an Asteroid. Watch the contest announcement video here. Astrophotographers can submit their entries into the competition by email to email@example.com by Sept. 15. Be sure to include “astrophoto competition” in the subject line to be considered.
About the book:
The world’s first complete (and stereoscopic) atlas of an asteroid, this book 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 includes stereoscopic glasses.