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OSIRES-REx Spacecraft Successfully Touches Asteroid Bennu

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission readies itself to touch the surface of asteroid Bennu.

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission readies itself to touch the surface of asteroid Bennu.
Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

News from Oct 21, 2020

The NASA probe Osiris-REx paid a short visit to the asteroid Bennu to take soil samples. The space probe was launched in 2016 and has been orbiting the asteroid since 2019.

The NASA probe Osiris-Rex has now undertaken something similar: It collected sample material on the less than one kilometer small asteroid Bennu. These extraterrestrial rocks will be brought back to Earth in 2023 and analyzed there. The automatic maneuver took place in the night to Wednesday at a distance of more than 321 million kilometers from Earth.

The researchers hope to gain insights into the early days of our solar system 4.5 billion years ago, because asteroids like Bennu are comparatively untouched remnants from that time. But there is something else that distinguishes the asteroid: from 2169 it could possibly be on a collision course with our Earth.

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