The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has shared a marvellous image of a 4.5-billion-year-old asteroid crossing the Earth. The image of asteroid Bennu was captured from its Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft.
Sharing the picture of it’s crescent, NASA wrote, “Stop! 4.5-billion-year-old steroid crossing! You’re looking at a real image of asteroid Bennu captured from @NASASolarSystem’s #OSIRISRex spacecraft.”
OSIRIS REx has been collecting samples of rocks and dust from the cosmic object since 2 years. NASA said, “In 2023, the samples will arrive back at our home planet where they’ll be transported to @NASAJohnson and distributed to laboratories worldwide, enabling scientists to study the formation of our solar system and Earth as a habitable planet.”
NASA has claimed that the asteroid’s terrain turned out to be much rockier and more rugged than initially expected from the observations of the ground-based telescope. The space agency has also decided to preserve 75 percent of the sample and keep it for future generations, who can study it using technologies yet to be invented or developed.
The roughly $800 million, minivan-sized OSIRIS-REx spacecraft was launched in 2016 to collect the first US sample of pristine asteroid materials. It’s trip back to Earth will take about two years. The spacecraft will then eject a capsule containing the asteroid samples, which will land in a remote area of Utah around September 24, 2023.