‘You’ve got a little Vesta on you’

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx to asteroid Bennu: “You’ve got a little Vesta on you…”
During spring 2019, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft captured these images, which show fragments of asteroid Vesta present on asteroid Bennu’s surface. The bright boulders (circled in the images) are pyroxene-rich material from Vesta. Some bright material appear to be individual rocks (left) while others appear to be clasts within larger boulders (right). Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

In an interplanetary faux pas, it appears some pieces of asteroid Vesta ended up on asteroid Bennu, according to observations from NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. The new result sheds light on the intricate orbital dance of asteroids and on the violent origin of Bennu, which is a “rubble pile” asteroid that coalesced from the fragments of a massive collision.


“We found six boulders ranging in size from 5 to 14 feet (about 1.5 to 4.3 meters) scattered across Bennu’s southern hemisphere and near the equator,” said Daniella DellaGiustina of the Lunar & Planetary Laboratory, University of

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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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