Simply awesome! Space rock smashes into Asteroid Bennu with NASA eye on it

New research has found the secrets about Asteroid Bennu's surface and its structure with the help of NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission. Know the details here.

| Updated on: Aug 22 2022, 13:41 IST
Asteroid Bennu
Asteroid Bennu secrets revealed after the Collision with Space Rock that Caused a Landslide. (NASA)
Asteroid Bennu
Asteroid Bennu secrets revealed after the Collision with Space Rock that Caused a Landslide. (NASA)

NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission is all about studying near-Earth asteroid Bennu. In a recent development, researchers have found new secrets about asteroid Bennu, that too when a tiny object hit the asteroid. A team of scientists led by Mark Perry of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, Maryland has shared new revelations about the surface of the asteroid while images were collected by NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft.

The researchers have traced the progress of a landslide on asteroid Bennu that is the result from an impact with another object. This helped the researchers to understand the structural properties of the asteroid. According to the team, a deep-space landslide progression would be possible only if asteroid Bennu has certain properties on its surface such as dry and dust particles with little or no cohesion. This also helped the scientists to provide better insights into how asteroids are composed of a loose collection of smaller rocks and dust  held together by gravity in space and how they take the hit of other space objects.

Something similar happened in the case of Asteroid Bennu. "The landslide started when debris from a meteoroid impact fell back onto Bennu's surface. And when an object hits a surface that hard  —  from 5 to 20 kilometers per second  —  you expect the material on the surface to flash up at an equally high velocity. If the object you hit is loosely packed, the material goes up at a lower velocity. In either case, we'd expect most of the material to jump off into space, but that's not what happened during this impact,” Mark Perry, the researcher who led the research, said in a statement.

The research team has mentioned that the material ejected from the surface of the asteroid Bennu returned down to its face which triggered an avalanche. Because of the small size of the Bennu, its escape velocity is less than a few tenths of a mile per hour. The researcher explained that any particle ejected faster than the mentioned velocity would leave the surface. This is only possible if Bennu's surface is weaker than previously predicted, with loose and dry sand.

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First Published Date: 07 Jul, 17:31 IST