Researchers said that from the starting of this month NASA has been investigating over a small asteroid, Bennu and noticed the presence of hydrated minerals across its rocky surface, demonstrating the activity of water in the ancient times.
During the conference with reporters in Washington, Amy Simon—a scientist at the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt—talked about the previous results generated through two spectrometers boarded on the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft.
The principal investigator of the OSIRIS-REx operation, Dante Lauretta said that the research team targeted the asteroid specifically, as it was a good space object bearing hydrated minerals and perhaps, appropriate to the research over meteorites found on Earth
Bennu is a carbonaceous 1,600-foot large asteroid discovered in the Year 1999. The asteroid has been moving towards Mars crossing the Earth’s orbit, which could be a potential danger for the Earth.
This mission worth $1 Billion was launched in the year 2016 and finally approached Bennu on December 3, 2018. If everything goes accurately, the spacecraft will plot the orbit around the asteroid by this year-end.
It would be also a great achievement to make a spacecraft revolve around the smallest space body with 100,000 times less gravity than Earth’s.
The mission is launched to thoroughly analyze Bennu in an extraordinary way by collecting its soil and rock samples for return to Earth in the Year 2023. Also, scientists hope to understand more about the techniques for redirecting or thrashing up an asteroid.
Simon also stated that the existence of hydrated minerals over the asteroid surface has proved that Bennu is a residue of some primitive huge body of the solar system. The surface samples of the asteroid would provide an excellent specimen to scientists that could provide information regarding the evolution of the solar system.
The research team plans to utilize a major part of the next year in aligning Bennu with delicate aspects.