Evidence of water, particle plumes found on asteroid Bennu

NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex mission discovers evidence of water, particle plumes on asteroid Bennu among numerous other findings.

Asteroid Bennu

  • Bennu is only slightly wider than the height of the Empire State Building and it is expected to contain unaltered material from the very beginning of our solar system.
  • Bennu has a more rugged surface than expected. This posed a challenge for the mission team and forced it to alter its flight and sample collection plans, due to the rough terrain.
  • Few of the particles ejected out of Bennu orbited it as satellites before returning to the asteroid’s surface.
  • Bennu is a carbonaceous asteroid in the Apollo group and is  a potentially hazardous object.

OSIRIS-Rex Mission

NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (Osiris-REx) mission is aimed at studying Bennu Asteroid and Osiris-Rex mission began orbiting the asteroid on December 31 last year. The Osiris-Rex mission is expected to return samples to Earth in 2023 and before attempting to obtain a sample from the asteroid, it will map out Bennu’s surface in detail and orbit the asteroid to calculate its mass.

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