NASA captures incredible close-up shot of plumes of dust leaving an asteroid

Daily Mail - Science & tech

NASA has captured an incredible close-up shot of plumes of dust and rocks erupting from the surface of near-Earth asteroid Bennu as it spins through the solar system. Researchers from the University of Arizona have been studying the images taken by the navigation camera on the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. The high-resolution images were taken as part of a NASA mission to bring samples of the asteroid - that is about 300,000miles away - back to Earth for scientists to study. These images offer a detailed look at small-scale rock and particle loss from an active asteroid for the first time, say researchers. Previous studies have been limited to only the largest ejections seen from Earth.

NASA pinpoints four landing spots where it will capture a piece of 'apocalypse asteroid' Bennu

Daily Mail - Science & tech

The team leading NASA's first mission to take a rock sample from the asteroid Bennu has selected four sites for the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to'tag'. The spacecraft has already mapped the entire Bennu meteor - dubbed the'apocalypse asteroid' - in order to identify the safest and most accessible spots to retrieve a chunk of its surface. Now, the four locations will be studied before the final two sites – a primary and backup – are selected in December, this year. The OSIRIS-REx sample collection is scheduled for the latter half of 2020, and the spacecraft will return the asteroid samples to Earth on September 24, 2023. Osprey is set in a small crater, 66 feet (20 m) in diameter, which is also located in Bennu's equatorial region at 11 degrees north latitude, while Sandpiper is located in the meteor's southern hemisphere, at 47 degrees south latitude Sites: Nightingale is the northern-most site, situated at 56 degrees north latitude on Bennu, while Kingfisher is located in a small crater near Bennu's equator at 11 degrees north latitude The four candidate sample sites on Bennu are designated Nightingale, Kingfisher, Osprey, and Sandpiper – all birds native to Egypt.

Asteroid Bennu up close: NASA's Osiris-REx snaps detailed images of the oddly-shaped object

Daily Mail - Science & tech

NASA's Osiris-REx spacecraft has made its closest approach yet to an asteroid 1.4 billion miles from Earth. The probe dipped down to just .4 According to NASA, this put it in position to break the record for'the closest distance a spacecraft has orbited a body in the solar system.' Stunning new images from after the maneuver now reveal a close look at the boulders and craters dotting the surface of the distant object. The close-up image shared this week by NASA was captured on the 13th, showing Bennu half sunlit and half in shadow from the spacecraft's view. At the time, Osiris-REx was .4

Bennu asteroid keeps spinning faster and scientists aren't sure why

Daily Mail - Science & tech

A distant space rock called Bennu is spinning faster meaning its rotation period is getting shorter by about one second every 100 years - but scientists are still trying to figure out why. NASA is observing the asteroid to help them understand the evolution of other similar objects, their potential threat to Earth, and if they could be mined for resources. Scientists used data gathered during the OSIRIS-REx mission, before the probe's arrival, to calculate that Bennu's rotation rate is speeding up over time. Bennu is 70 million miles (110m km) away from Earth. As it moves through space at about 63,000 miles per hour (101,000 km per hour), it also spins, completing a full rotation every 4.3 hours.

See asteroid Bennu like never before: NASA releases stunning new photos from OSIRIS-REx

Daily Mail - Science & tech

NASA's asteroid-chasing spacecraft has released the most detailed views yet of its oddly-shaped target from more than 1.4 billion miles away from home. Since OSIRIS-REx reached orbit around asteroid Bennu at the beginning of this year, its snapshots have brought us closer and closer to the nearby asteroid. At just 1,600 feet across, Bennu is the smallest object ever to be orbited by a spacecraft. The latest batch of images shows Bennu in staggering new detail from when OSIRIS-REx was just one mile above the surface. NASA's asteroid-chasing spacecraft has released the most detailed views yet of its oddly-shaped target from more than 1.4 billion miles away from home.

A long way from home: NASA spacecraft grabs stunning snapshot of Earth from 70 MILLION miles away

Daily Mail - Science & tech

An asteroid-circling spacecraft has captured a unique snapshot of home. NASA's Osiris-Rex spacecraft took the picture days before going into orbit around asteroid Bennu on New Year's Eve. The tiny asteroid - barely one-third of a mile (500 meters) across - appears as a big bright blob in the long-exposure photo released last week. NASA's Osiris-Rex spacecraft took the picture before going into orbit around asteroid Bennu. Seventy million miles (110 million kilometers) away, Earth appears as a white dot in the lower left, with the moon an even smaller dot but still clearly visible.

NASA's first close look at tiny asteroid Bennu reveals moist clay studded with boulders

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – NASA's first look at a tiny asteroid shows the space rock is more moist and studded with boulders than originally thought. Scientists on Monday released the first morsels of data collected since their spacecraft Osiris-Rex hooked up last week with the asteroid Bennu, which is only about three blocks wide and weighs about 80 million tons (73 million metric tons). Bennu regularly crosses Earth's orbit and will come perilously close in about 150 years. Project scientist Dante Lauretta of the University of Arizona said the blueish space rock is "a little more rugged of an environment than we expected" with hundreds of 33-foot (10-meter) boulders, instead of just one or two. There's also a bigger 16-foot (50-meter) boulder on Bennu, which looks like two cones put together with a bulge on its waistline.

Watch Live: NASA OSIRIS-REx Arrives at Asteroid Bennu


Two years and two months after it launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, NASA's $800-million mission to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter will reach a pivotal moment Monday, when the agency's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is slated to rendezvous with its scientific target: a dark, round, carbon-rich asteroid named Bennu. At fewer than 500 meters in diameter, Bennu is a small solar-system body with big scientific potential: Astronomers suspect the asteroid's rocky composition has remained more or less unchanged since it formed some 4.5 billion years ago. Collecting and analyzing a sample of the asteroid could tell scientists a lot about the origins of our solar system, its planets, and the source of organic molecules that may have given rise to life on Earth. But before anyone can sift through a sample from Bennu, NASA must first collect and retrieve it. Doing so will require several major steps, the first of which is slated to kick off Monday, at around 9:00 am PT, when OSIRIS-REx (short for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer) will arrive at Bennu and begin its months-long process of surveying the asteroid's surface.

NASA spacecraft just days away from rendezvous with asteroid Bennu

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Early Monday afternoon, a NASA probe that's spent the last two years flying alone through space will finally reach its destination – a near-Earth asteroid that could hold clues on the origins of our solar system, and life itself. The Osiris-Rex spacecraft is set for its long-awaited rendezvous with the space rock'Bennu' between 11:45 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. ET on Dec 3, when NASA will air a live event kicking off its first asteroid sample return mission. Just last week, Osiris-Rex flexed its mechanical arm through a full range of motion for the first time in space ahead of reaching Bennu; eventually, this instrument will be used to pluck a sample of loose dirt and rock from the surface to bring back home. The craft has now travelled more than a billion miles since launching from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in September 2016. Early Monday afternoon, a NASA probe that's spent the last two years flying alone through space will finally reach its destination – a near-Earth asteroid that could hold clues on the origins of our solar system, and life itself.

NASA successfully tests OSIRIS-REx robotic arm ahead of arrival


NASA's spacecraft OSIRIS-REx is just 75 miles from its destination and, just like you would near the end of a light, it's starting to stretch out. The craft successfully tested its Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM), a robotic arm that will allow it to grab samples from the surface of the asteroid Bennu. According to NASA, the test run went as planned. OSIRIS-REx, with the help of engineers from Lockheed Martin, showed off the full range of motion of its arm. The test's success was confirmed by telemetry data and photos captured by an onboard camera.