Agency Reveals Details About Bennu, Including Finding Possible Lifeforms

KEY POINTS

  • OSIRIS-REx will collect samples from Bennu on Oct. 20
  • Bennu came from a parent body which had enough heat to keep water in its soils
  • Nightingale will be the mission’s primary sample site
  • The samples are set to be delivered back on Earth on Sept. 24, 2023

NASA has shared more information about asteroid Bennu and the agency’s mission to bring back samples of the asteroid’s surface through their OSIRIS-REx mission on Oct. 20. The 861-foot asteroid may contain ingredients for life.

In a recent article shared by NASA, the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) is set to travel to a near-Earth asteroid named Bennu to collect a 2.1-ounce sample and bring it back to Earth for further study. The mission plans to shed more light for scientists on how life began in the solar system, as well as improve their knowledge on asteroids that

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Asteroid Bennu Could Shed Light on How Ingredients for Life Reached Earth | Smart News

A series of studies published last week in the journals Science and Science Advances offer a new, detailed look at the makeup of a small asteroid called Bennu. The studies come just before NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft plans to pick up a sample from the asteroid’s surface on October 20 and return with it to Earth in 2023.

Before the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft reached the asteroid in 2018, astronomers could only study it with telescopes that couldn’t make out details smaller than cities or states, Michael Greshko reports for National Geographic. OSIRIS-REx allows astronomers to map details the size of basketball courts, sheets of paper and postage stamps, depending on the imaging tool they used.

“The reason there’s so much interest in asteroids is a lot of them are very primitive, from when the Solar System formed, and they didn’t change with wind and water, or weather like on Earth,” planetary

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Scientists study the rugged surface of near-Earth asteroid Bennu — ScienceDaily

As the days count down to NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft’s Touch-And-Go asteroid sample collection attempt, Southwest Research Institute scientists have helped determine what the spacecraft can expect to return from the near-Earth asteroid Bennu’s surface. Three papers published online by Science on Oct. 8 discuss the color, reflectivity, age, composition, origin and distribution of materials that make up the asteroid’s rough surface.

On October 20, the spacecraft will descend to the asteroid’s boulder-strewn surface, touch the ground with its robotic arm for a few seconds and collect a sample of rocks and dust — marking the first time NASA has grabbed pieces of an asteroid for return to Earth. SwRI scientists played a role in the selection of the sample sites. The first attempt will be made at Nightingale, a rocky area 66 feet in diameter in Bennu’s northern hemisphere. If this historic attempt is unsuccessful, the spacecraft will try again

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US probe to touch down on asteroid Bennu on October 20

The asteroid Bennu, as photographed by OSIRIS-REx, on December 2, 2018
The asteroid Bennu, as photographed by OSIRIS-REx, on December 2, 2018

After a four-year journey, NASA’s robotic spacecraft OSIRIS-REx will descend to asteroid Bennu’s boulder-strewn surface on October 20, touching down for a few seconds to collect rock and dust samples, the agency said Thursday.

Scientists hope the mission will help deepen our understanding of how planets formed and life began and provide insight on asteroids that could impact Earth.

“Years of planning and hard work by this team are essentially coming down to putting the TAGSAM (Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism) into contact with the surface for just five to 10 seconds,” said Mike Moreau, OSIRIS-REx deputy project manager.

NASA has chosen a site called Nightingale, a rocky area 52 feet (16 meters) in diameter, for the spacecraft’s robotic arm to attempt to collect a sample, because it holds the greatest amount of unobstructed fine-grained material.

The spacecraft, about the

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NASA spacecraft discovers chunks of asteroid Vesta on asteroid Bennu

Osiris-Rex snapped these views of bright boulders on asteroid Bennu in 2019. They appear to have come from asteroid Vesta.


NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

Asteroid Bennu, the subject of NASA’s Osiris-Rex mission, appears to be hosting some unusual souvenirs. In a case of cosmic CSI, researchers have traced the origin of some bright boulders on Bennu’s surface to a different asteroid named Vesta.

Osiris-Rex is currently in residence at Bennu, preparing for a daring sample collection operation in October. The spacecraft has already sent back a wealth of images and data from the “rubble pile” asteroid that was formed from fragments of a brutal collision.

The boulders in question range in size from 5 to 14 feet (about 1.5 to 4.3 meters) and look noticeably different than the darker surrounding material. 

A closer investigation of

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