How asteroid Bennu caught NASA’s OSIRIS-REx by surprise and nearly killed it along the way | Englishheadline


When the OSIRIS-REx probe arrived at asteroid Bennu, it found a body that looked and behaved quite differently from what scientists had expected.

When NASA started planning its first mission to snatch an asteroid sample, the space rock science community was abuzz with excitement over another asteroid mission — Japan’s Hayabusa. In 2010, for the first time in history, that mission triumphantly delivered to Earth a fragment of an asteroid, a space rock called Itokawa. A few years earlier, Hayabusa, had mapped the whole of Itokawa, revealing a landscape strewn with boulders but also featuring smooth beach-like plains, or ponds, of gravel and sand. 

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