Asteroid Bennu Sample Site Finalists

13 Août, 2019, 16:54 | Auteur: Therese Cote

"We knew that Bennu would surprise us, so we came prepared for whatever we might find", said Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator at the University of Arizona, Tucson.

Bennu turned out to be rockier than anticipated, but mission planners have now identified four sites on its surface that are smooth enough for OSIRIS-REx to collect a sample.

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Now, scientists will study the four sites in greater detail in order to select the final two sites - a primary and a backup - in December. Like the mythological Bennu bird for which the asteroid is named, all of the candidate sample sites refer to birds that can be found in Egypt.

OSIRIS-REx sample collection is scheduled for the latter half of 2020, and the spacecraft will return the asteroid samples to Earth on September 24, 2023.

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