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The Geekiest One


Rotating Asteroid Bennu from OSIRIS-REx

OSIRIS-REx: Bringing Home Pieces of an Asteroid

NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex mission will map and study the asteroid Bennu before bringing a sample home. Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

Explanation: Could this close-by asteroid ever hit the Earth? Eventually yes — but probably not for a very long time, even though the asteroid is expected to pass inside the orbit of the Moon next century. However, to better understand the nature and orbit of all near-Earth asteroids, NASA sent the robotic Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) to investigate this one: the 500-meter across asteroid 101955 BennuLaunched in 2016, OSIRIS-REx is now approaching Bennu, and is first scheduled to map the minor planet‘s rough surface. The featured time-lapse video taken earlier this month compacts Bennu‘s 4.25-hour rotation period into about 7 seconds. Bennu’s diamond-like appearance is similar to asteroid Ryugu currently being visited by the Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa2. The exact future orbit of Bennuis a bit uncertain due to close passes near the Earth and the Yarkovsky effect: a slight force created by an object’s rotationally-induced, asymmetric infrared glow. If all goes according to plan, ORISIS-Rx will actually touch the asteroid in 2020, collect soil samples, and return them to Earth in 2023 for detailed analyses.

Source: https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap181113.html

  • tes
    November 14, 2018


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