January 25, 2019

Rocks On Bennu Create Bump for OSIRIS-REx Sample Search

The scientists have found more rocks than expected on the surface of the asteroid Bennu.

Osiris Sampling The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will attempt to sample soil from the surface of the asteroid Bennu.
NASA

LISTEN

It could be a rocky road for the next phase of the OSIRIS-REx space mission. Scientists working on the University of Arizona-backed effort are looking for an area to sample soil from the asteroid Bennu, which has turned out to be rougher than expected.

OSIRIS-REx has been orbiting Bennu for about one month, and space scientists can already tell the asteroid is covered with boulders. Planetary scientist Josh Emery says the number of rocks and other surface features the spacecraft has photographed so far has been surprising.

"In fact there are so many that it's going to be harder to sample, to find a place where we can pick up a sample," he said.

OSIRIS-REx is scheduled to spend most of the year flying closer to Bennu's surface and looking for a smooth spot. The collection device aboard the spacecraft is designed to grab soil, pebbles, and stones about 2 centimeters in size and return them to Earth for study.

By posting comments, you agree to our
AZPM encourages comments, but comments that contain profanity, unrelated information, threats, libel, defamatory statements, obscenities, pornography or that violate the law are not allowed. Comments that promote commercial products or services are not allowed. Comments in violation of this policy will be removed. Continued posting of comments that violate this policy will result in the commenter being banned from the site.

By submitting your comments, you hereby give AZPM the right to post your comments and potentially use them in any other form of media operated by this institution.
Arizona Public Media broadcast stations are licensed to the Arizona Board of Regents. Arizona Public Media and AZPM are registered trademarks of the Arizona Board of Regents.
The University of Arizona