NASA’s first asteroid sample return mission is officially prepared for its long-awaited touchdown on asteroid Bennu’s surface.
They used a NASA asteroid probe to do it.
Nasa has revealed its final plans to land a probe on a huge space rock nicknamed the ‘apocalypse asteroid’.
Shortly after NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft arrived at asteroid Bennu, an unexpected discovery by the mission’s science team revealed that the asteroid could be active, or consistently discharging particles into space. The ongoing examination of Bennu — and its sample that will eventually be returned to Earth — could potentially shed light on why this intriguing phenomenon is occurring.
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.