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NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft finds evidence of water on asteroid Bennu

NASA's Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft has found water locked inside asteroid Bennu.
NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft finds evidence of water on asteroid Bennu
  • Bennu is too small to have ever hosted liquid water, but this finding does indicate that liquid water was present at some time on Bennu's parent body, a much larger asteroid.

Details:

  • Data obtained from spacecraft's two spectrometers OSIRIS-REx Thermal Emission Spectrometer (OTES) and OSIRIS-REx Visible and Infrared Spectrometer (OVIRS) has revealed presence of hydroxyl molecules that contain oxygen and hydrogen atoms bonded together.
  • These hydroxyl groups exist all across asteroid in water-bearing clay minerals, indicating that at some point Bennu's rocky material interacted with water.

About OSIRIS-REx:

  • It was launched in September 2016 and is NASA's first asteroid sampling mission i.e. it will survey the surface, collect sample and deliver it safely back to Earth.
  • It had reached its destination- Bennu asteroid in December 2018 after travelling through space for more than two years and travelling over two billion kilometres.
  • Samples returned by the mission to Earth in 2023 will enable scientists to find new information about the history and evolution of our solar system.

About Bennu:

  • It is a near-Earth carbonaceous asteroid about the size of a small mountain in the Apollo group.
  • It was discovered in September 1999 by the LINEAR Project.
  • It is one of the oldest known asteroids which is considered as a remnant from early formation of solar system and orbits close to Earth's path around Sun.
  • It is a carbon-rich asteroid and believed to be the type of asteroids that may have chemical building blocks of life, along with lots of water.
  • So, analysis of returned sample from it could help to reveal key insights about early solar system and the origin of life on Earth.
  • It is a potentially hazardous asteroid and there is very slight chance that it could strike into Earth in the late 22nd century.

Question:

Q. NASA's Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft has found water locked inside which asteroid?
a. Sennu
b. Mennu
c. Bennu
d. None of the above
NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft finds evidence of water on asteroid Bennu NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft finds evidence of water on asteroid Bennu Reviewed by Inderjeet Virdi on December 14, 2018 Rating: 5

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