Spitting Bennu?

A composite of two images  shows a cloud of small rocks the asteroid Bennu has somehow ejected from its surface. Image credit: NASA/Goddard/Univ. of Arizona/Lockheed Martin

A composite of two images shows a cloud of small rocks the asteroid Bennu has somehow ejected from its surface. Image credit: NASA/Goddard/Univ. of Arizona/Lockheed Martin

Greetings and welcome back, Earthlings!

The NASA OSIRIS-REx probe has been having a lot of fun twirling around the mysterious asteroid, Bennu! When it came to its closest approach yet, Bennu did something that no one expected!

It spat!

Not water per se, but rather spitting pieces of rubble out into space!

What does this mean? We are not 100% certain…

But what we do know…Bennu the Asteroid is ACTIVE!

This is not like a comet where the ice and rubble heat up and vaporize, releasing bits of rubble. NO! This debris is larger than expected, quite a few dozen at once!

With the surface also being discovered to be much more rough, this process of spitting out pieces of rock into space is all the more puzzling!

Close-up images of the rocky surface of Bennu. The image on the left is 180 meters across, and the insets are just over 30 meters. The biggest boulders are about the size of a house. Credit: NASA/Goddard/Univ. of Arizona

Close-up images of the rocky surface of Bennu. The image on the left is 180 meters across, and the insets are just over 30 meters. The biggest boulders are about the size of a house. Credit: NASA/Goddard/Univ. of Arizona

Thank you for reading and come back next week for a look at the Event Horizon Telescope!

Caitlin Ahrens