NASA has published a heat map of the asteroid Bennu

Space Agency NASA in conjunction with the University of Arizona and the company Lockheed Martin, actively pursuing the mission OSIRIS-REx. Within its framework, researchers are studying the surface of near-earth asteroid Bennu — they already have revealed an interesting feature of its rotation and made detailed pictures of the boulders. Now the project team has shared a heat map of a space object — it turned out that the surface temperatures there are sharp differences, and this is the explanation.

The data on the basis of which was created a heat map was collected onboard spectrometers OTES and OVIRS in November 2018. So, thanks to the interplanetary station OSIRIS-REx, the researchers became aware that the temperature of the surface of the asteroid ranges from -73 to +76 degrees Celsius. It is noteworthy that the distance between two points with such a large temperature difference is only 250 metres away.

The researchers there are very simple explanation for this phenomenon in the asteroid Bennu is no atmosphere, so heat across its surface uneven. Thus, the temperature of the areas depends on the amount of sunlight they receive. To see the animation of the heat map can be on the project site.


Information about surface temperature is extremely important for NASA, because in July 2020 interplanetary station comes closer to the asteroid and collect soil samples. Collected 60 grams of dust and rock samples will be delivered to Earth in September 2023 and will be subject to scrutiny.

Similar thing at the moment engaged in the station “Hayabusa-2”, which recently created a crater on the asteroid’s surface Ryugu. It is expected that among the collected soil will be breeds that were not subjected to external influence since the formation of the Solar system. Read more about the bombing of the asteroid can be read in our material.