REx spacecraft detected material streaming away from asteroid Bennu

The asteroid Bennu ejecting particles from its surface on January 19. Image Credit NASA  Goddard  University of Arizona  Lockheed Martin

The asteroid Bennu ejecting particles from its surface on January 19. Image Credit NASA Goddard University of Arizona Lockheed Martin

Japan's space agency said Monday that its Hayabusa2 spacecraft will follow up that up with another risky mission - dropping an explosive on the asteroid to make a crater and then collect underground samples for possible clues to the origin of the solar system.

"That gives me confidence they will be able to attempt a sample acquisition", he said.

The scientists were also surprised by Bennu's terrain, which is covered with large boulders. Both asteroids are more rugged and rocky than anticipated.

Just a few days later on January 6, NASA detected the first hints of particle expulsion from the surface of Bennu (see above).

"Throughout OSIRIS-REx's operations near Bennu, our spacecraft and operations team have demonstrated that we can achieve system performance that beats design requirements", said Rich Burns, the mission's project manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The revelation is just one of many surprises that scientists have learned about Bennu, ever since OSISIR-REx reached the asteroid late past year. Sandy regions are flawless for grabbing a small collection of particles, especially with the sampler attached to the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. "The primary one being the amount of water, or lack of it, Ryugu seems to possess", said Seiji Sugita of the University of Tokyo's Department of Earth and Planetary Science in a press statement as the mission released its initial findings. But the rugged terrain means it will instead have to aim for a much smaller safe area, like the smooth patch at top left. The spacecraft arrived in orbit around Bennu on December 31, 2018.

Adam said they are now able to navigate using surface characteristics and have demonstrated "meter-level navigation accuracy which is better still than the Earth-based Global Positioning System navigation on your smartphone".

In the coming months, NASA will conduct rehearsals of the sample collection operation.

The data can also be used to determine Bennu's gravitational pull.

This image shows a view across asteroid Bennu's southern hemisphere and into space. Another possibility is that water ice beneath its surface (which itself isn't a guarantee) sublimates into vapor when the asteroid approaches the Sun, jettisoning particles in response to the heat.

Useful resource Identification, Safety, Regolith Explorer mission on the College of Arizona, stated the invention of stone and pebble particle streams makes Bennu an "energetic asteroid", a different class of small photovoltaic system objects with inhabitants of exclusively a few dozen, of which none have been studied up-shut. Magnetite typically forms within water systems, according to Lauretta, and is usually an indication of intense water activity.

Two types of carbonaceous chondrites called CI and CM chondrites contain several percent by weight of organic compounds and some also contain water in abundances of 10-15 percent and as much as 20 percent in rare cases. And that could tell us a lot about how our cosmic neighborhood came to be.

It's believed to have formed 4.5 billion years ago, a remnant of the solar system's building blocks.

In other words, Bennu could be in the process of spinning itself into oblivion. Based on the group's calculations, the region around Bennu's equator is trapped within a gravitational feature called a rotational Roche lobe-something that scientists had not yet clearly observed on an asteroid. "You can use that to understand how life originated on Earth", says Lauretta.