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Studying the crater of the asteroid Bennu shows how long it has been around the Earth



Rock cracked by the sun in Bennu

According to the images taken by the OSIRIS-REX spacecraft of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the flaking characteristics on the cliff face (a) and the boulder (bf) on the asteroid Bennu are different. The bright dome on the horizon of panel (a) is a boulder behind the shedding cliff.Image credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

A team of researchers affiliated with many institutions in the United States, Canada, and Italy discovered that studying the crater of the asteroid Bennu allowed them to calculate how long it has been around the Earth.In their papers published in the journal natureThe team described their research on craters formed on megaliths on asteroids.


Recently, the asteroid Bennu made the headlines. This is the asteroid where the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft recently landed and collected samples. This mission marks the first time NASA has landed on an asteroid and collected samples. In this new work, researchers have been using data from the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to calculate the time for the asteroid to orbit around the Earth.

In order to further understand the age of the asteroid and the time it takes to orbit around the Earth, the researchers focused their work on the craters of the giant boulders on the surface of the asteroid. Previous research has shown that Bennu was once part of a larger body and was knocked down by another object while orbiting the interstellar disk (the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter).

After the collision, the researchers believed that Bennu slowly escaped the asteroid belt. During this period, it was hit by other objects, some of which hit the boulders on its surface, forming large craters. After it left the asteroid belt, Bennu continued to be hit by other smaller objects, some of which also hit the boulders on its surface, but the researchers believe that these new impacts resulted in smaller impact craters. And because Bennu entered low-Earth orbit, those smaller craters represented a timetable for its new orbit. Using data from OSIRIS-Rex to study the size and depth of these craters, researchers were able to estimate their age (approximately 1

.75 million years), which also shows how long the Bennus spent in low-Earth orbit.


NASA will launch OSIRIS-REx asteroid samples


More information:
R.-L. Ballouz et al. Inferred from the crater on the boulder, Bennu has a lifespan of 1.75 million years. nature (2020). DOI: 10.1038 / s41586-020-2846-z

©2020 Science X Network

Citation: Studying the crater on the asteroid Bennu shows how long it has orbited near the Earth (October 28, 2020) from https://phys.org/news/2020-10-craters on October 28, 2020 -asteroid-bennu-orbiting-earth search. html

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