When NASA’s probe almost sank into Asteroid Bennu, a big secret was revealed

The OSIRIS-REX probe spacecraft almost sank into Asteroid Bennu! Thus, it reveals a hidden secret about the asteroid.

NASA launched its OSIRIS-REX mission in 2020, in which it sent a probe to the asteroid Bennu with the aim of securing at least 60 grams of surface material and returning it. The earth in 2023. In fact, it took the probe just 18 minutes to send back the first images from the OSIRIS-REX sampling process back to Earth. But, amazingly, it took more than a year to solve the mystery of what happened in a brief touch and go. A researcher’s latest study, published in the journal Science and Science Advances, describes how a sudden outburst of dust and rock on the Earth’s surface. small planet nearly caused the probe to sink in.

In the early stages, planetary scientists are expected to find face of asteroid Bennu is mostly dust. Instead, the probe that landed on the asteroid showed it to be completely different! The researchers traced the probe’s progress on asteroid Bennu, revealing that the probe landed on a wreckage, rather than a rocky surface as expected. The report says that if the probe wasn’t programmed to lift itself back to its orbit within seconds of landing, the asteroid would get stuck and devour it!

This is due to the asteroid’s loosely aligned surface. “The asteroid is so loosely bound that the short jet of gas is thought to blow surface material into the collector rather than blowing out 6,000 kg of dust and rock,” said OSIRIS-Rex team member Cat Wolner. Because of its strange surface structure, NASA compared it to a pit of plastic balls. In addition, it shows that there is no consolidation or other force holding Bennu’s outer layers in place except for the asteroid’s weak gravity.

The OSIRIS-REX team previously selected a 20-meter-wide crater as the best landing target for sampling during the mission. The probe’s plan is to simply touch the surface and stay there for five seconds with the Touch and Continue Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM). However, when TAGSAM touched the surface, it did not stop and sank nearly half a meter before the spacecraft reversed course and rose into the air.

It was this accident that revealed to scientists this amazing secret of Asteroid Bennu.

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