Asteroid 101955 Bennu shocks NASA’s scientists, here’s why

According to NASA, the asteroid is made out of loosely packed particles that constitute its exterior.

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Asteroid 101955 Bennu was first discovered by scientists in 1999. According to US space agency NASA, this asteroid has a surface which can be compared to a play area for kids.

The area that NASA is pointing out is made out of loosely packed particles that constitute the exterior part of this asteroid.

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The latest finding was unveiled in a blog recently shared by the space agency. The blog reads, “It turns out that the particles making up Bennu’s exterior are so loosely packed and lightly bound to each other that if a person were to step onto Bennu they would feel very little resistance, as if stepping into a pit of plastic balls that are popular play areas for kids”.

This comes two years after NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft collected a sample from Bennu in October 2020.

The recent findings defy the former belief that asteroid’s exterior is tightly packed.

As per OSIRIS-Rex science team member Kevin Walsh, researchers would have found solid rocks if the asteroid was tightly packed. Instead, they found lot of void in the surface.

In December 2018, the US space agency found that the asteroid surface had boulders and didn’t have the formerly believed beach-like surface. Scientists and researchers were even shocked to know details about the force that keeps the particles together on the surface.

OSIRIS-Rex scientist Patrick Michel unveiled that research is still going on as celestial bodies behave in different ways.

NASA has also said that in case an asteroid ever touches the Earth, its particles will break apart due to our mother planet’s atmosphere. According to the agency, the asteroids cling to each other because of the gravitational force. It also mentions that if a collision occurs, such asteroids are likely to face a different kind of threat than the solid asteroids.

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