Dramatic Sampling Shows Asteroid Bennu Is Nothing Like Scientists Expected

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission triggered an unexpected explosion when it landed on asteroid Bennu in October 2020 to collect a valuable sample to bring back to Earth.

Mission scientists have described the dramatic recovery of the sample, which led to surprising discoveries about the nature of the asteroid, in two new studies. And the results aren’t just intriguing: The researchers say the findings could have implications for a possible future diversion mission, if the 1,640-foot-wide (500-meter) Bennu (one of the riskiest known NEOs asteroids) ever threaten to impact the planet.

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