NASA scientists left scratching their heads after analysing asteroid samples

NASA's retrieved samples of asteroid Bennu are causing researchers to scratch their heads, with the heart of the canister not even accessed yet.

1 minute & 34 seconds read time

It has been two and a half months since NASA successfully retrieved samples from asteroid Bennu, and since then, the space agency has been attempting to conduct analysis, but there are a few things getting in its way.

NASA scientists left scratching their heads after analysing asteroid samples 52656

NASA and almost everyone involved never thought having too many samples of asteroid Bennu would be a problem, but it has. The retrieval mission was a roaring success, and NASA hasn't even accessed the heart of the retrieval canister that is within OSIRIS-REx. The space agency is currently making a new screwdriver that will be used to remove the remaining screws and enable full access to the samples.

While researchers haven't fully dug around in the canister, they have conducted preliminary analysis on rocks caught outside of the canister. The largest so far has been a 3.5-centimeter rock. Scientists discovered that Bennu has an abundance of carbon and water. Additionally, the team found large quantities of magnesium, sodium, and phosphate within the skin of the chunks taken from Bennu.

Reports indicate that this composition isn't particularly common for asteroids, leaving some scientists scratching their heads at the rare makeup of Bennu. So far, researchers have cataloged more than 1,000 Bennu samples, and those are just counting what is more than half a millimeter in size.

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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