Mar 20, 2019 07:53 AM EDT
NASA -- Scientists have recently released a load of information collected by the OSIRIS-REx, the spacecraft that has been released to orbit the asteroid Bennu. The results have been very interesting so far but there were also some unforeseen challenges in the collection of the data itself. The samples from the Asteroid Bennu are more difficult to collect than what scientists previously expected
In various Nature journals today, the results of the initial study have been published. It can with a load of exciting and surprising facts. Bennu seems to contain a lot of water. The studies show that the asteroid is filled with "hydrated" materials. This asteroid is active in nature. It spews debris into space at least eleven times through the course of the observation. Scientists also thought it was craggier than previously thought, which made the collection of samples truly challenging.
"We are confident that our teams and our systems can take on the task. The touch-and-go- type of sampling is something we can do," said Rich Burns, the project manager of OSIRIS REa project. He expressed this desire to finish the collection with little to no problem during the NASA media conference. NASA astronauts are up to the challenge just to be able to get the data needed.
NASA launched the OSIRIS REx in its space mission in 2016. The goal was to characterize and collect samples from the surface of the asteroid that could be hazardous if it reaches the Earth, one day in the future. The space vehicle arrived in the orbit of the earth in December 2018 and is expected to be back with the needed sample by 2023.
Similar to that of the Ryugu, other asteroids that humans are currently looking into, the Bennu looks like it is a simple spinning ball of rubble. It actually has the shape like that of a top. The imaging of its radiation reveals that the asteroid Bennu is mostly made of carbon-based materials. Scientists refer to it as carbonaceous chondrites. However, unlike that of the Ryugu, Bennu appears to be filled with materials that contain water.
The new data collected from the OSIRIS-REx is that the Bennu is spinning faster than it did months ago. The solar energy that hits the other side of the asteroid has created an impact on its topography and surface.
The wealth of scientific data to collect from the Bennu is unimaginable and it is offering the astronauts of the OSIRIS-REx a great opportunity to learn more about the world out there. Such opportunities don't come often in a lifetime. NASA is excited about all the potential knowledge they could collect from the OSIRIS-REx and they cannot wait to tell the world about it to help us better understand what we could all be dealing with in the coming years.
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