Although the world is still experiencing a new crown pandemic, NASA is preparing to carry out an asteroid sample mission later this month that, if successful, will bring back some fine gravel from the asteroid Bennu to researchers on Earth,media reported. NASA is understood to have spent months studying the asteroid and collecting data, as well as finding the best location for sampling.
In the latest news, NASA says new research on the asteroid suggests exciting discoveries ahead.
Bennu is a huge, rocky, angular asteroid that is currently orbiting OSIRIS-REx. NASA’s spacecraft will land on the asteroid in the coming days to collect physical samples. The samples will be safely packed and sent back to Earth, giving researchers the opportunity to study the substances in a very practical way.
According to the space agency, six recently published studies detail the different components of the asteroid, including an exciting finding that the Bennu asteroid sample may be different from any other meteorite samples researchers have found on Earth. The asteroid’s surface has been found to be covered with carbon-containing organic matter, which may include a biologically related form.
“Carbon-rich materials are a major scientific victory for this mission,” explained Lead Researcher Dante Lauretta of OSIRIS-REx. We are now optimistic that we will collect and recover samples of organic matter, which is the core objective of the OSIRIS-REx mission. “
According to the space agency, the mission’s main sample site, Knightingale, may have some of this organic material, meaning researchers may have an unprecedented opportunity to study a carbon-rich asteroid sample and use it to unlock the secrets about the origin of Bennu’s long-lost asteroid mother.