Benn has a diameter of about 550 m.
The surface of asteroid Bennu covered a much larger number of craters than expected, and emits plumes of particles which like satellites orbit around the asteroid. The discovery announced on Tuesday the National Aeronautics and space administration (NASA) of the United States, outlining the results of the research Benn conducted with the spacecraft OSIRIS-REx.
NASA attaches great importance to study the asteroid, as it believes that it can contain samples of matter, preserved in its original form since the formation of our Solar system.
“The discovery of plumes of particles has become one of the biggest surprises in my scientific career,” admitted Dante Lauretta from the University Arizon in Tucson, who heads a group of academics in charge of data processing of airborne instruments OSIRIS-REx. “Strongly crossed relief subverts all our predictions. Benn already affects us, but exciting journey has just begun,” added the Professor.
As explained NASA, plumes of particles broken from the surface of the asteroid, was discovered OSIRIS-REx from a distance of 1.61 km 6 Jan. Scientists involved in the project decided to increase the frequency of observations of Bennu and within two months found additional jets of particles. Some of them like the companions turned around the asteroid and came back to the surface. In any case, the researchers conducted the test, making sure that the plumes do not pose any danger to the spacecraft.
Station in orbit of the asteroid
Station OSIRIS-REx, bred in space in September 2016, with several devices, including cameras, spectrometers and a laser altimeter. 31 December 2018, it entered the orbit of the asteroid Bennu where it will in order to choose a suitable point for collection of the soil sample.
The operation itself is planned for mid-2020: manipulator, equipped with a special pneumatic device that touches the surface of the asteroid. In total, employees NASA expects to harvest from 60 g to 2 kg of soil. The return to Earth of the capsule with the collected sample is scheduled for September 2023.
Benn has a diameter of about 550 m and rotates in an elliptical orbit around the Sun. Astronomers consider it one of the Apollo – asteroids whose orbits cross Earth’s orbit. The probability of collision is 1 in 4000. His fall to Earth was equivalent to the explosion of a capacity of 2.7 thousand MT.
OSIRIS-REx is one of three devices developed by experts NASA to launch into space program New Frontiers. The other two are interplanetary station New Horizons, which is closer to the asteroid Ultima Thule of January 1, the minimum distance of 3540 miles, and interplanetary Juno, which conducted studies of Jupiter.