OSIRIS-REx Observes Particle Ejection from Asteroid Bennu


This view of asteroid Bennu ejecting particles from its surface on January 19 was created by combining two images taken on board NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. Image credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/University of Arizona/Lockheed Martin

Last week at the 50th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, the OSIRIS-REx team announced the first observations of particles being ejected from asteroid Bennu. Several such eruptions have occurred in the three months OSIRIS-REx has been in orbit around Bennu. Some of the particles are lost into space, while others orbit the asteroid for a short time before falling back to the surface. The mission’s science team is currently assessing how the particle plumes might affect the spacecraft’s ability to collect a sample from Bennu’s surface for return to earth.

For the latest from Bennu, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/osiris-rex