NASA's OSIRIS-REx space probe first arrived in the big space rock known as Bennu, and spent the first months of 2019 observing its new space companion and learning about it. more on the surface of the rock. Unfortunately for NASA engineers, the surface of the asteroid is nothing like what they thought, and that poses a serious problem for the future.
The OSIRIS-REx mission includes several objectives, the first being the successful insertion of the spacecraft into orbit around the rock itself. NASA understood and everything seemed to be going well, or at least until the scientists had thoroughly examined Bennu's surface. As Sky and telescope reports, this has greatly complicated things.
With a limited ability to observe the asteroid from Earth or flying towards the rock, scientists thought that the asteroid would be rather smooth. A smooth surface would make the final maneuver of the Space Shuttle – and the recovery of samples up close – close and much more personal – much less risky, but that's not what Bennu had in store.
Bennu is, to put it simply, an absolute waste. The asteroid is covered with debris of all sizes, ranging from dust and small rocks to huge rocks. This is a big challenge for sample collection as the spacecraft will have to avoid obstacles as it makes its way to the surface of the space rock.
OSIRIS-REx has always intended to remain in orbit around Bennu for about a year, to make observations on its surface and to transmit data and images to its managers on Earth. However, with the rubble surface being a threat to its most anticipated action, NASA will have to work diligently to find a safe place on the asteroid so that the probe can collect a sample before leaving Bennu and returning home. she. If they can do it, it will be a monumental feat.