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EXPLAINED : ASTEROID BENNU

EXPLAINED : ASTEROID BENNU

Context

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx — Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer,  spacecraft briefly touched asteroid Bennu.

Details

  • NASA’s OSIRIS-REx is meant to collect samples of dust and pebbles and deliver them back to Earth in 2023.
  • The asteroid Bennu was named after an Egyptian deity by a nine-year-old boy from North Carolina in 2013 who won NASA’s “Name that Asteroid” competition.
  • The asteroid was discovered by a team from the NASA-funded Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research team in 1999.

About Asteroids

  • They are rocky objects that orbit the Sun, much smaller than planets.
  • They are also called minor planets.
  • According to NASA, there are 994,383 asteroids in our solar system.

Classes of Asteroids

They  are divided into three classes. First, they are  found in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, which is estimated to contain somewhere between 1.1-1.9 million asteroids. The second group is that of trojans, which are asteroids that share an orbit with a larger planet.

The third classification is Near-Earth Asteroids (NEA), which have orbits that pass close by the Earth. Those that cross the Earth’s orbit are called Earth-crossers.

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