Asteroids that grow particles are rare. The chances that an asteroid producing particles are also the ones that NASA has chosen for observation are even rarer. This means that Bennu is an active asteroid. We found a dozen of nearly 800,000 observed by scientists. "The discovery of plumes is one of the biggest surprises of my scientific career," said Dante Lauretta, Senior OSIRIS-REx Researcher at the University of Arizona, Tucson , in a NASA press release.
OSIRIS-REx scientists discovered the first particle explosion on the surface of Bennu on January 6th. Nearly a dozen others would come in the next few months. After deciding that the particles would not pose any risk to the spacecraft, the mission team decided to follow them in order to analyze their potential causes. The team is still finding explosive particles so far.
Bennu's other discoveries surprised scientists. For starters, the number of blocks on Bennu's surface is an unexpected discovery. Based on Earth observations, scientists expected Bennu to have a smooth surface, but further investigation revealed that Bennu is rough and rough. This will make sample collection more difficult, and NASA scientists are currently working on an alternative approach. The probe also detected magnetite on Bennu's surface, corroborating an earlier finding that the rock was interacting with liquid water on Bennu's parent body.
The scientific community is united in its surprise at the recently discovered features of the asteroid Bennu. The Bennu Mission brings many new data and new questions. "I think the composition and especially the plumes were unexpected and therefore very exciting." What are these plumes? said Scott Hubbard of Stanford University in an email to Engadget. Could Bennu's plumes look like geyser-like icy jets found on Enceladus, Saturn's moon? Or could they be something else?
Professor Avi Loeb, who chairs the astronomy department at Harvard University, told Engadget that the recent revelations about the asteroid Bennu reminded him of a quote from Oscar Wilde: "The only people who seem normal to me are those I do not know very well. "