The interplanetary station OSIRIS-REx continuesExplore the near-Earth asteroid Bennu - in the end, she intends to collect samples of her soil and send them to Earth. Rapprochement should occur in 2020, therefore NASA together with Internet users now creates a detailed map of its surface. After studying it, researchers will be able to choose the most suitable place to collect the rock, which can later tell if asteroids could actually deliver amino acids and water to the early Earth.
The spacecraft is equipped with MapCam cameras andPolyCam, which have already managed to make a lot of photos of the surface of the asteroid. Recently, some of them were published on the project site - they have clearly visible boulders of various sizes, and especially Boulder No. 1 stands out among them, 52 meters in size. For example, in a photograph taken at a distance of 4.8 kilometers from the surface, it casts a huge shadow on the surrounding stones.
In other photos it is clear that on the asteroidThere is very little regolith - basically it is really covered with boulders of various sizes and shapes. It is noteworthy that some of them have cracks and other damage, most likely associated with the exfoliation of the rock during space weathering, exposure to sunlight and damage by blows from other objects.
In addition to the boulders, on the surface of Bennu there arecraters. One of the largest is located at its south pole - the picture was taken on March 14, from a distance of 3.6 kilometers from the surface of the object. Also, researchers already know that the asteroid has minerals with some water content - this discovery can be read in our material.
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