Bennu is ready for its close-up.
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.
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.
US spacecraft aims to return the largest trove of space dirt to Earth since NASA’s final Apollo mission in the 1970s.
Scientists hope the probe will reveal if such space rocks helped kick-start life on Earth
NASA’s asteroid-chaser will reach its target, Bennu, on Dec. 3 and you don’t want to miss a thing.
After an almost two-year journey through space, NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) caught its first glimpse of Bennu, a carbonaceous asteroid whose makeup may record the earliest history of our Solar System, last week and began the final approach toward the asteroid. Using its multipurpose PolyCam camera, the spacecraft obtained the image of Bennu from a distance of 1.4 million miles (2.2 million km), or almost six times the distance between the Earth and Moon.