Scientists have made a captivating discovery on asteroid Bennu because of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft.
Lately analyzed information from the probe has recognized water locked contained in the asteroid’s clay, the house company has introduced. The spacecraft’s two spectrometers revealed the presence of “hydroxyls,” that are molecules containing oxygen and hydrogen atoms bonded collectively.
NASA’S OSIRIS-REX SPACECRAFT REACHES ASTEROID BENNU AFTER EPIC JOURNEY
“Whereas Bennu itself is simply too small to have ever hosted liquid water, the discovering does point out that liquid water was current at a while on Bennu’s father or mother physique, a a lot bigger asteroid,” mentioned NASA in a press release.
The asteroid might present solutions to the origin of our photo voltaic system, in keeping with the house company.
“The presence of hydrated minerals throughout the asteroid confirms that Bennu, a remnant from early within the formation of the photo voltaic system, is a wonderful specimen for the OSIRIS-REx mission to check the composition of primitive volatiles and organics,” mentioned Amy Simon, OSIRIS-REx Seen and Infrared Spectrometer (OVIRS) deputy instrument scientist at NASA’s Goddard Area Flight Heart, within the assertion. “When samples of this materials are returned by the mission to Earth in 2023, scientists will obtain a treasure trove of recent details about the historical past and evolution of our photo voltaic system.”
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OSIRIS-REx, which stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Useful resource Identification, Safety-Regolith Explorer, reached its orbit at asteroid Bennu final week after touring greater than 1 billion miles by means of house. It launched in September 2016 from Cape Canaveral Air Pressure Station.
The spacecraft will spend nearly a yr surveying the house rock from orbit. The probe is scheduled to briefly contact the asteroid with a robotic arm in July 2020 and retrieve a pattern that might be returned to Earth in September 2023.
It is a busy time for NASA. The house company’s InSight lander landed efficiently on the floor of Mars final month, ending a journey that lasted six months and accomplished greater than 300 million miles. The house company lately launched the first-ever audio recording from the floor of the Purple Planet.
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