Signs of water on the surface of the Bennu asteroid

Signs of water on the surface of the Bennu asteroid

The mosaic image of December 2, represented by 12 frames from PolyCam, shows the asteroid Bennu. NASA's first look demonstrates that space rock is covered with boulders and more humid than previously thought. On December 10, researchers published the first data after the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft arrived at an asteroid weighing 80 million tons. Bennu is expected to come close to Earth in 150 years.

NASA's first glance at the asteroid Bennu shows that its surface is littered with stones and seems more wet than previously thought. On December 10, the first scraps of data from the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft appeared, which arrived at an asteroid weighing 70 million tons. Bennu regularly crosses the Earth's orbit and in 150 years runs the risk of approaching a dangerous distance.

There is no liquid water on the asteroid, but there is a lot of it in the form of wet clay. The researchers also noted a large number of boulders on the surface. Among them, they found a 16-meter boulder, resembling a double cone. There are allusions to the fact that liquid water was present in the past asteroid. Scientists believe that Bennu is the remainder of the beginning of the formation of the Solar System 4.5 billion years ago, when the first planets first appeared. There is an assumption that Bennu was part of a large asteroid with water reserves.

In January, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft should begin to rotate around the asteroid. This is a difficult maneuver, because the gravity of an object is 100,000 times smaller than the earthly one. It will be the smallest object in whose orbit the mechanism will leave the Earth. Researchers will spend the year studying, and in 2020 they will collect images to deliver them to their home planet in 2023.

The cost of the OSIRIS-REx mission is $ 800 million. The device started in 2016 from Cape Canaveral (Florida). Last week, the sensors noted a distance of 2 billion km.

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