[CANCELED] OSIRIS-REx Encounters Bennu: A Surprising Asteroid

Wednesday, March 11, 2020 - 3:30pm PDT
Ellen Howell
N232 R227
Event Type: 

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is exploring Bennu, a carbonaceous asteroid whose regolith may record the earliest history of our solar system. The OSIRIS-REx instruments are collecting measurements to constrain Bennu’s physical and chemical properties. Bennu has confirmed many of our previous ground-based measurements, and also has surprised us with its unexpectedly rugged, rocky surface. The in situ measurements of the thermal properties agree with previous remote sensing, but the interpretation was contrary to the spacecraft findings. We have selected the sample site and backup site that are most likely to be successful, and hope to pick up the sample in August 2020. The spacecraft will leave Bennu in March 20201 and bring the sample back to the Earth in September 2023. This pristine sample from a well characterized asteroid will tell us much about the early solar system and the formation of the Earth.

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