With assist from its OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, NASA researchers noticed fairly a gem final week. The asteroid — actually formed like a diamond — is reportedly situated about 80 million miles from Earth and has been eyed by area exerts for fairly a while.
Utilizing a digital camera on NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, researchers have been in a position to seize greater than 4 hours of footage of the asteroid, often known as Bennu, from simply 122 miles away.
In a sequence of snapshots, taken each 2.5 milliseconds, NASA was in a position to present the asteroid “rotating for one full revolution.”
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The form of Bennu fascinates scientists who’re hoping to be taught extra concerning the make-up of the area rock, which has been in comparison with the asteroid often known as Ryugu, the main focus of Japan’s Hayabusa2 area mission.
“We expect they’re very unfastened aggregates. They are not strong by and thru,” Melissa Morris, OSIRIS-REx deputy program scientist at NASA, mentioned throughout a webcast final week. “And so, as they rotate, you’ll be able to really mainly spin issues out and create nearly that prime form.”
NASA will proceed to look at the 1,650-foot-wide Bennu, which is “seemingly wealthy in natural molecule,” over the following a number of months, House.com stories.
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Asteroid-sampling spacecraft OSIRIS-REx, which has been touring in area for roughly two years, first considered Bennu in August.
“[It’s] NASA’s first mission to go to a near-Earth asteroid, survey the floor, accumulate a pattern and ship it safely again to Earth,” NASA defined in an Aug. 24 News assertion.
“I can’t wait to see what Bennu reveals to us.”
After touring greater than 1 billion miles, OSIRIS-REx is scheduled to formally arrive at Bennu on Dec. 3. At the moment, the spacecraft will orbit the asteroid to find out the most effective location to gather samples. In July 2020, OSIRIS-REx will use a wide range of instruments to scrape from the asteroid’s floor and — a few yr later — convey them again to Earth, the place scientists can take a better look.
“Now that OSIRIS-REx is shut sufficient to watch Bennu, the mission group will spend the following few months studying as a lot as doable about Bennu’s dimension, form, floor options, and environment earlier than the spacecraft arrives on the asteroid,” Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator on the College of Arizona, Tucson, mentioned in an internet assertion. “After spending so lengthy planning for this second, I can’t wait to see what Bennu reveals to us.”