Sunday, September 25, 2022

Asteroids like ‘children’s play space’! Here’s Why 101955 Bennu Surprised NASA Scientists

The US space agency NASA said in a new revelation that 101955 Bennu, an asteroid discovered long ago in 1999, has a surface that can be compared to a children’s play area. This region consists of loosely packed particles that make up the asteroid’s exterior.

Posting a new blog, the agency said, “It turns out that the particles that make up Bennu’s exterior are so loosely packed and so lightly bound to each other that if a person steps on Bennu.” They will feel very little resistance, such as stepping into a pit of plastic balls that are popular play areas for children.”

The latest discovery comes two years after the agency’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft collected a sample from the asteroid in October 2020. However, only now have scientists discovered that the exterior of an asteroid is not as tightly packed as previously believed.

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According to Kevin Walsh, a member of the OSIRIS-REx science team, the asteroid would have been packed with solid rocks, but the researchers found a lot of voids in the surface. Earlier in December 2018, NASA was shocked to learn that the surface was filled with boulders, instead of what they believed to be a beach-like surface. They were even more shocked after studying the force that held the particles together on the surface.

According to OSIRIS-REx scientist Patrick Mitchell, research is still ongoing to find out about these bodies because they behave so differently. NASA further said in its post that if an asteroid ever comes into contact with Earth, the asteroid’s particles will be separated due to the planet’s atmosphere. The agency said that these asteroids are sticking together due to gravity or electrostatic force. NASA suggests that in the event of a collision, such asteroids may face a different kind of threat than solid asteroids.

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Nation World News Desk
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