The operation of the spacecraft OSIRIS-REx, launched in September 2016 to study asteroid Bennu, is beginning to bear fruit. The probe reached the orbit of the space object recently, on 3 December, but have already discovered on the asteroid’s surface water. According to researcher Amy Simon, we are not talking about water in its pure form, but only the presence of “hydrocodoneusa minerals”. The discovery surprised scientists, however, they made one important conclusion.
According to them, the material from which is Bennu, once interacted with water. Most likely the asteroid broke away from a larger space object on the surface of which there was plenty of water in the liquid state. This large object can be compared with the asteroid Ceres, part of which is a thick layer of ice.
Researchers believe that the mineral content of water scattered throughout the area of the object. However, they also believe that liquid water on its surface was not. The assumption is due to the small size of the asteroid diameter is equal to 550 meters. Despite its small size, the asteroid Bennu threat to our planet. Its orbit crosses the orbit of Earth, and the probability of collision is 1 in 4000. The fall of an asteroid can cause an explosion capacity of about 2700 megatons.
The presence of oxygen and hydrogen on the clay surface was observed by the two spectrometers. In addition to these, the OSIRIS-REx has a camera, a laser device for determining the height and the mechanical arm. By using the hand-manipulator, the scientists want to take soil samples up to 2 kg. It will happen in 2020 and 2023, the capsule with the samples will be returned to Earth for careful study of the collected material.