Data from NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission reveals that water blended in with clay minerals has been found within the asteroid Bennu.
As reported by NASA, the OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer) spacecraft made this discovery in the course of the mission’s strategy part between mid-August and early December, about 1.four million miles (2.2 million km) into its journey from Earth, nearly 12 miles (19km) from Bennu itself.
At this level, information was was obtained utilizing the OSIRIS-REx OVIRS (Osiris Visible and Infrared Spectrometer) and OTES (Osiris Thermal Emission Spectrometer) revealing the presence of molecules containing oxygen and hydrogen atoms bonded collectively, in any other case referred to as hydroxyls.
Bennu. Credit: NASA, Goddard, University of Arizona
It’s suspected that these hydroxyl teams exist all through Bennu within the type of water-bearing clay minerals, which means sooner or later in time, Bennu interacted with water. Though NASA says Bennu is simply too small to have hosted liquid water itself, it’s anticipated that liquid water was current at one level or one other in a bigger mum or dad asteroid.
“The presence of hydrated minerals throughout the asteroid confirms that Bennu, a remnant from early within the formation of the photo voltaic system, is a superb specimen for the OSIRIS-REx mission to check the composition of primitive volatiles and organics,” stated Amy Simon, OVIRS deputy instrument scientist. “When samples of this materials are returned by the mission to Earth in 2023, scientists will obtain a treasure trove of latest details about the historical past and evolution of our photo voltaic system.”
For different latest NASA information, take a look at how the administration named constellations after The Hulk, Thor’s Hammer, Godzilla and Doctor Who, how new proof suggests previous life on Mars, and the way NASA’s InSight efficiently landed on Mars.
Colin Stevens is a information author for IGN, and he needs everybody the happiest of holidays. Follow him on Twitter.