NASA OSIRIS-REx Mission Sample Collection Reveals Asteroid Bennu’s Sub-Surface

Image Credit:Nasa

According to information acquired by the OSIRIS-REx mission during its sampling of the asteroid, Bennu, its surface is made up of low-cohesion debris. 


Two recent scientific studies—one each in Science and Science Advances—have come to this conclusion.

A sample of roughly 250 grammes, which will be returned to Earth in 2023 for laboratory analysis, was obtained, according to a study published in Science by Dante Lauretta and colleagues.

The other study, conducted by Kevin Walsh and colleagues and published in Science Advances

examined the forces that the spacecraft encountered and discovered that Bennu's low gravity had created a granular surface bed with weak interparticle cohesion.

Bennu, a carbonaceous rubble-pile asteroid with a diameter of 500 metres (1,600 feet), was surveyed by the OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation

 Resource Identification, and Security-Regolith Explorer) spacecraft for roughly two years throughout the mission

The mission crew decided on a spot inside of the Nightingale crater, which has a diameter of 20 metres (65 feet), after analysing the best places to collect a sample.

According to Lauretta et al., the spacecraft reached the surface in October 2020 and gathered the sample

Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) of the spacecraft made contact with the asteroid and started to sink into its surface 

surface before releasing a jet of nitrogen gas that activated subsurface material and directed it into a collection chamber.

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