NASA baffled by mysterious, unexplained ejections on asteroid Bennu

OSIRIS-REx pulled within 12 miles of the diamond-shaped space rock Monday December 3

Japan's space agency said Monday that its Hayabusa2 spacecraft will follow up that up with another risky mission - dropping an explosive on the asteroid to make a crater and then collect underground samples for possible clues to the origin of the solar system. This touch and go maneuver will collect a sample of the asteroid regolith and return it to Earth for analysis.

"The first three months of OSIRIS-REx's up-close investigation of Bennu have reminded us what discovery is all about-surprises, quick thinking, and flexibility", Lori Glaze, acting director of NASA's Planetary Science Division, said in a statement. This could change the way we understand asteroids like Bennu. It is the smallest body ever orbited by a spacecraft, and it could contain materials from the beginning of the solar system.

The team also says they found more boulders at the surface than expected.

Bennu is a diamond-shaped asteroid that is about 500 metres wide and may offer answers to long-standing mysteries about the origins of our solar system and the sources of water and organic molecules on Earth.

The mission was aiming just to get on the dart board, Burns said, but now with such hard landing circumstances, "We're going to try to hit the bullseye".

An artist's concept of what the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will look like as it orbits asteroid Bennu

But there is optimism the new discoveries will not disrupt the mission to bring particles from Bennu back to earth.

Professor Trevor Ireland, from ANU, will analyse samples of the asteroid once they are returned to Earth in 2023. It is due to collect a rock sample using its extendable arm but the sampling is proving more hard than anticipated due to the amount of larger boulders on the surface. Observations from orbit showed that Bennu's entire surface is rough and covered with boulders.

Ideally, the mission team wants a sample site clear of hazards that is over 150 feet in diameter. At that point, the team increased the frequency of observations, finding the dust ejection was not a one-time event - Bennu does this continuously.

"Bennu has issued us a challenge to deal with its rugged terrain, and we are confident that OSIRIS-REx is up to the task", project manager Rich Burns boasted. The mission team is developing an updated approach, called Bullseye TAG, to accurately target smaller sample sites. Originally, both assumed they could have spacious landing zones. Now that OSIRIS-REx has revealed Bennu's surface up close, those expectations of a smoother surface have been proven wrong. The team is revising these models with the data from Bennu. Among the unexpected discoveries were particle plumes, and OSIRIS-REx now has the distinction of having made the first close-up observations of these plumes erupting from the surface of an asteroid. The spacecraft began orbiting Bennu at the end of last year, after spending two years chasing down the space rock.

Risk of no-deal Brexit has just risen sharply
The former prime minister said that a no-deal Brexit was no longer an option and that the question of a second referendum was "for a later time".



Latest news

Facebook Defends Live Stream Of Christchurch Shooting
The 17-minute livestream had fewer than 200 views at its end, and no one reported it during that time. Social media firms have struggled to stop the spread of copies of the video.

Apple launches new Watch bands in India, price starts at Rs 3,900
The other Nike Sport Loop bands are coming out in Spruce Fog, Teal Tint, Hyper Grape, Summer White, and Black colors as well. As for the iPad, the new Pink Sand color option is offered with the Smart Folio for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

‘PM Narendra Modi’ trailer is more about Modi the CM
The film directed by Omung Kumar shows PM Narendra Modi's journey from being a common man to becoming the Prime Minister of India. There is also reference to Indira Gandhi and the Emergency that shows a "turbanated" Narendra Modi courting arrest.

Egg Boy to donate money to New Zealand mosque attack victims
According to the page, the teenager "plans to send a majority of the money to the victims of the Christchurch terrorist attack". Connolly has been offered concert tickets for life and free vacations, and he has been portrayed in street art and on T-shirts.

Morata aware of Man City interest in Atletico Madrid teammate Saul
According to ESPN , City have turned to Saul, 24, instead, and are ahead of Barca in their attempt to sign the Spanish player. Saul signed a nine-year deal with Diego Simeone's side in 2017 and subsequently his contract at Atletico runs out in 2026.

AMBER Alert cancelled, missing Idaho girl found safe
They later said that both the daughter and her father were found safe in Markham and cancelled the alert. Brooke is described by police as 5 feet 4 inches tall and 118 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes.

Samsung's Galaxy Fold foldable phone will be here in months
This means the Galaxy S8 and S9, as well as the Note 8 and Note 9, will receive this feature too in a future update. Only the S10 and the S10 Plus will be available for pre-orders, however; the S10e is not available for pre-orders.

Australian man in NZ mosque attacks charged with murder
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker tweeted that he learned of the attack "with horror and profound sadness". Muslims account for just one percent of New Zealand's population, a 2013 census showed, most of whom were born overseas.

Defeat of final Islamic State bastion in Syria imminent, Trump says
The jihadists have been putting up a desperate fight, their notorious propaganda machine working even on the brink of collapse. But even after Baghouz's fall, IS maintains a scattered presence and sleeper cells that threaten a continuing insurgency.

Maintaining full sanctions on N. Korea has ‘no justification’ - Pyongyang
Last month, Trump and Kim unexpectedly cut short their summit meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam. It's certainly hard - we knew it would be.

First look at Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
One of the trailer's true MVP's is Mike Moh's Bruce Lee, who exchanges a few Tarantino-esque words with Pitt's character . The film stars Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate and will weave fact and fiction into a story about Hollywood in 1969.

Mike Thalassitis: Love Island star dies aged 26
Meanwhile, a panel on the success of Love Island that was due to be held during Advertising Week Europe has been called off. In June past year , former Love Island contestant Sophie Gradon was found dead at her home in Ponteland, Northumberland.

Nvidia GauGAN AI transforms scratch scribbles into photorealistic images
Nvidia has presented at the conference GTC 2019 awesome technology that will help anyone become a Pro at drawing landscapes. GauGAN has 3 tools (pencil, pencil and paint bucket) and a set of objects that the designer can select for his drawing.

Lori Loughlin Jokes About Paying For Her Daughter's Education in Resurfaced Video
The video seen on Olivia's social media page shows her in the South Pacific island paradise with other so-called social media influencers.

Pentagon lists possible military project cuts to pay for Trump's border wall
Ryan, D-Howland, said Trump's "fake national emergency " is now jeopardizing "critical military projects" in Ohio. Trump is proposing that $3.6 billion of these funds be reallocated to support his barrier project.

Other news