NASA probe finds signs of water on nearby asteroid Bennu

This mosaic image of asteroid Bennu is composed of 12 Poly Cam images collected on Dec. 2 by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft from a range of 15 miles

This mosaic image of asteroid Bennu is composed of 12 Poly Cam images collected on Dec. 2 by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft from a range of 15 miles

The discovery of water on Bennu is definitely exciting, but scientists will need to temper their joy just a bit considering it'll be a long time before OSIRIS-REx actually returns samples back to Earth.

The data was collected during the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission's approach phase, between mid-August and early December, when the spacecraft arrived at a location about 12 miles from the asteroid, the release said.

There's no liquid water on the asteroid, but there's plenty of it in the form of wet clay.

Bennu was worth the two-year wait to reach it.

The OSIRIS-REx mission's goals include understanding what kinds of stuff asteroids contain, characterising Bennu's motion in case its trajectory ever threatens Earth, and learning about what the Solar System was like in its earliest days.

Today, scientists behind those instruments have found "hydroxyl groups", molecules of oxygen and hydrogen bonded together - but rather than existing on their own, they're likely bonded to Bennu's clay minerals, according to NASA.

The agency's OSIRIS-REx probe, which just arrived at Bennu last week, has already found hydrated minerals on the 1,640-foot-wide (500 meters) near-Earth asteroid, mission team members announced today (Dec. 10). Scientists believe asteroids and comets crashing into early Earth may have delivered organic compounds and water that seeded the planet for life, and atomic-level analysis of samples from Bennu could provide key evidence to support that hypothesis. While Bennu itself is too small to have ever hosted liquid water, the finding does indicate that liquid water was present at some time on Bennu's parent body, a much larger asteroid.

Epic Games has removed the Infinity Blade series from Apple's App Store
The announcement closes out with a tease asking fans to stay on the look for Infinity Blade to appear in unexpected places. Infinity Blade is an RPG series exclusive to Apple's iOS devices.

Additionally, data obtained from the OSIRIS-REx Camera Suite (OCAMS) corroborate ground-based radar observations of Bennu and confirm that the original model - developed in 2013 by OSIRIS-REx Science Team Chief Michael Nolan, now based at LPL, and collaborators - closely predicted the asteroid's actual shape. Osiris is the god of the afterlife, while Bennu represents the heron and creation.

The $800 million Osiris-Rex mission began with a 2016 launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Scientists around the world can then scrutinize the sample with a variety of laboratory equipment, making observations that address the main mission goals as well as a variety of other questions.

And there's a large boulder near the south pole of the asteroid, 164 feet high and 180 feet wide.

OSIRIS-REx will continue to survey the asteroid by flying by its north pole, equator and south pole, sometimes as close as 4.4 miles away, to determine mass.

It will go into orbit December 31 and orbit until mid-February before another series of surveying flybys.

The abundance of these obstacles means the OSIRIS-REx team must plan out its sample-grabbing activities in great detail and with great care.

Recommended News

  • Exit polls outlook and global sell-off makes Sensex, Nifty jittery

    Exit polls outlook and global sell-off makes Sensex, Nifty jittery

    Besides, a weakening rupee, which hit 71.44 per dollar intra-day, and fresh foreign fund outflows further pulled the key indices. The 50-share Nifty, on the other hand, slipped almost 200 points to slip below the 10,500 mark in intra-day deals.
    Transgender Boxer Wins First Professional Fight

    Transgender Boxer Wins First Professional Fight

    I'm just really happy. "I've got some neigh-sayers out there and I've got to prove that I deserve to be in here". "I told him I would support him 100% in whatever he chose to do", Manuel's mother told The Los Angeles Times .
    Police investigating after officers tear baby from mother’s arms

    Police investigating after officers tear baby from mother’s arms

    A video of NY police officers wrenching a baby from his mother's arms has sparked outrage and an investigation by the NYPD . Headley is heard yelling in the video, cradling her son on the floor as police attempt to restrain her.
  • What Wind Sounds Like On Mars

    What Wind Sounds Like On Mars

    However, for the time being it's sending data to scientists who will later use the information to detect actual marsquakes . The air pressure sensor, which is primarily meant for meteorological observations, recorded the Martian wind directly.
    Rumour: 7th-gen BMW 3-Series launch by mid

    Rumour: 7th-gen BMW 3-Series launch by mid

    The new 3-Series gets a slimmer twin-kidney grille flanked by redesigned twin-pod LED headlights and a new front bumper. With crossover SUVs all the rage, the station wagon in general seems to be going the way of the manual transmission.
    Nicki Minaj Defends Boyfriend Following Sex Offender Report

    Nicki Minaj Defends Boyfriend Following Sex Offender Report

    After pleading guilty to the manslaughter charge in 2006, Petty served seven years of a 10-year sentence. He was reportedly released in 2013, and likely went on being closely supervised for five more years.
  • Mine Forever: Virat Wishes Anushka on First Wedding Anniversary

    Mine Forever: Virat Wishes Anushka on First Wedding Anniversary

    Indian captain Virat Kohli takes great pride in the achievements of his team and the skipper backs his teammates to the hilt. Anushka is now gearing up for her film Zero which also stars Shah Rukh Khan and Katrina Kaif.
    United Nations  members adopt global migration pact

    United Nations members adopt global migration pact

    Six more, including Israel and Bulgaria, are debating whether to quit, a United Nations spokesman said after the pact was adopted. The idea of the agreement was to create a political platform for states to cooperate, she said.
    Sonic employees arrested for lacing kid's meal with ecstasy

    Sonic employees arrested for lacing kid's meal with ecstasy

    The drug causes brain chemicals dopamine and serotonin to rise, making people feel giddy, emotional, and energised. Police said the investigation is ongoing, and additional charges may follow its conclusion, Fox News reported.
  • Commercial 'boosting' in video games now punishable by law in Korea

    The boosting regulations come as part of a larger law that is meant to provide a variety of protections for the South Korean gaming industry.
    Fatal brain-eating amoeba may have come from woman’s neti pot

    Fatal brain-eating amoeba may have come from woman’s neti pot

    A fatal brain infection reportedly took the life a Seattle woman who doctors believe improperly used a neti pot. Tap water can contain tiny organisms that are safe to drink but could survive in nasal passages.
    Miley Cyrus still smokes weed with mom Tish

    Miley Cyrus still smokes weed with mom Tish

    Candid: 'She's here in NY actually and we've been texting about, I just want to go to the club with her. Andy added: 'I'm sure you will and you deserve it. "When I want something, it's f**king easy for me".

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.