Dramatic sampling shows asteroid Bennu is nothing like scientists expected

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission unleashed an unexpected explosion when it touched down on asteroid Bennu in October 2020 to collect a precious sample to carry home to Earth.

Mission scientists have described the dramatic sample retrieval, which led to surprising discoveries about the asteroid’s nature, in two new studies. And the results aren’t just intriguing: The researchers say that the findings might have implications for a possible future deflection mission, should the 1,640-feet-wide (500 meters) Bennu (one of the riskiest known near-Earth asteroids) ever threaten to impact the planet.

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