First Images of ‘Apocalypse Asteroid’ Bennu Taken by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx
NASA’s the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft has recently entered the orbit around the asteroid Bennu, which is now 70 million miles (110 million kilometres) from Earth.
NASA has captured an image of the 500-metre wide asteroid Bennu using its high tech Osiris-Rex spacecraft, according to a statement.
The 1,600-foot rock that was branded an “apocalypse asteroid” is located between Earth and Mars and weighs 87 million tonnes and is currently orbiting the Sun.
Have access to a 3D printer? Print your very own shape model of asteroid Bennu! 🖨 ☄️
— NASA's OSIRIS-REx (@OSIRISREx) January 30, 2019
The scientists believe that Bennu has a one in 2,700 chance of hitting our planet in the next century, according to the Daily Star.
A view from the southern hemisphere… I captured this shot of Bennu with my MapCam imager as I flew past the asteroid's south pole during Preliminary Survey. 📸 More image details: https://t.co/bap4f8o8tF pic.twitter.com/DccuCPZnUP
— NASA's OSIRIS-REx (@OSIRISREx) January 22, 2019
In December of last year, the NASA mission discovered the presence of water inside clay on the asteroid Bennu.
The presence of water or water-like molecules is expected to provide clues about how the solar system was formed and the history of its planets, according to NASA.
OSIRIS-REx is presently orbiting Bennu, surveying possible landing sites where the spacecraft will attempt to pick up a sample and return to Earth in 2023, according to the US space agency’s release.
Headline image: © NASA