Asteroid Bennu is one of the Near-Earth Objects that is currently being studied by NASA.
A shock discovery is in from Bennu. The NASA spacecraft analysing the asteroid has observed it shooting out plumes of dust that surround it in a dusty haze – a phenomenon we’ve never seen in an asteroid before.
In late 2018, the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft arrived at Bennu, the asteroid it will be studying and sampling over the next several years.
At 2:43 p.m. EST on December 31, while many on Earth prepared to welcome the New Year, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, 70 million miles (110 million kilometers) away, carried out a single, eight-second burn of its thrusters – and broke a space exploration record.
Take a peek at asteroid Bennu: porous, blue, and with a water-rich parent body.
The craft will spend 2019 scoping out the best spot to grab a handful of space rock dust
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission won’t just take pretty pictures of the asteroid Bennu—it will also help scientists learn whether the rock will one day threaten Earth.
Scientists hope the probe will reveal if such space rocks helped kick-start life on Earth
Later in 2018, two robotic probes, launched by NASA and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will each reach separate asteroids.