No one knows the reason behind rocks is fulminating from asteroid Bennu.

For the last year, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft of NASA has been circling a massive asteroid named Bennu that gradually passes uneasily close to Earth. The probe has been painstakingly mapping the rocky surface of the asteroid by applying a set of cameras and other instruments that will help it in determining where to land next year. Once NASA chooses a final landing site, OSIRIS-REx will touch Bennu just long enough to scoop up a sample to get back to Earth in 2023. Many scientists hope the Bennu sample to revolutionize our perception of asteroids, particularly those that are near-Earth and pose the massive threat from space to life as we know it. Still, as detailed in appearing that was published in Science, NASA has already started to make astonishing discoveries around this alien world.

Earlier this year, the OSIRIS-REx team vouched for particles fulminating from the surface of the asteroid, but they don’t know the reason behind it. Carl Hergenrother, who is an astronomer at the University of Arizona and the scientist who raised Bennu as the target for OSIRIS-REx, has stated that no one has ever seen an active asteroid like this. He also added that it was not that long ago that the operable knowledge was that asteroids are these dead bodies that didn’t transform very much. In January, the lowland cameras on OSIRIS-REx took three ejection events that each brought up about 100 centimeter-sized asteroid particles into space.

The spacecraft discovered a significant number of particles orbiting Bennu like a cloud of flies. Their several orbits suggest that particle volleys are a usual event on the asteroid and befall all across its surface, rather than in some selected spots. In this year, since three-volley incidents that are reported in Science, Hergenrother states that the OSIRIS-REx has discovered several other smaller ejections. According to Hergenrother, unfortunately, OSIRIS-REx will not be hanging around Bennu for long to unravel the mystery on its own. There are a lot more scientists have to do before the spacecraft buzz off for the Earth.


Mack Knight