The last time the U.S. space agency OSIRIS-REx spacecraft flew over the asteroid Bennu on Wednesday and slowly began to move away from the asteroid.
He collected rock samples from the surface of the asteroid
However, the space mission team has to wait a few more days to find out how Bennu’s surface was changed when the spacecraft took samples from its ground. The last flight was made by the spacecraft to document the changes that took place on the surface of Bennu caused by the October 20 soil sampling.
“By observing the distribution of excavated material, we will learn more about the nature of the asteroid’s surface and subsurface materials,” NASA website quoted Dante Lauretta, a senior researcher at the OSIRIS-REx mission at the University of Arizona.
The last time the spacecraft flew for 5.9 hours, approaching Bennu, about 3.5 kilometers away.
its surface, which has been the closest since taking a 3.4-meter-long “arm” in October.
It will take at least April 13 for all the data and recordings to be downloaded by the scientists.
The half-kilometer asteroid is rich in coal
On board the OSIRIS-REx with the collected samples, it will remain near Bennu until May 10, when it will return to Earth. It is scheduled to arrive with soil samples on September 24, 2023. Researchers say Bennu, discovered in September 1999, may preserve building blocks from the time the Solar System formed 4.5 billion years ago that may explain how life on Earth and perhaps elsewhere evolved.
The carbon-rich celestial body, roughly 550 meters long, passes by Earth every six years.
Bennu is one of the space objects dangerous to Earth.
According to NASA experts, at 1: 2700, the chances of an asteroid colliding with Earth at the end of the next century. The more scientists learn about asteroids like Bennu, the safer the Earth will be.