Asteroid Bennu’s Surprising Surface Revealed by OSIRIS-REx

  • Released Thursday, July 7th, 2022
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 11:44AM
  • ID: 14179

On October 20, 2020, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft collected a sample of near-Earth asteroid Bennu. This “TAG event” revealed surprising details about Bennu’s loosely-packed surface. The spacecraft’s arm sank almost half a meter into the asteroid, far deeper than expected, confirming that Bennu’s surface is incredibly weak. During the event, OSIRIS-REx collected a handful of material and kicked up roughly six tons of loose rock. It will return its sample of Bennu to Earth in September 2023.

Learn more about the surface properties of asteroid Bennu.

Revisit the TAG event in this narrated video and learn why asteroid Bennu’s surface is surprisingly weak.

Complete transcript available.

Universal Production Music: “Difficult Conversation” and “Into Motion” by Peter Larsen; “Big Data” by Dominique Dalcan; “Subsurface” by Ben Niblett and Jon Cotton; “Crypto Current” by Dominique Dalcan; “Spaceman” by Rainman

Watch this video on the NASA Goddard YouTube channel.

Version for Instagram Reels of full video.

When OSIRIS-REx touched down on asteroid Bennu, it encountered a surface of loose rocks and pebbles just barely held together by gravity.

Complete transcript available.

Universal Production Music: “Subsurface” by Ben Niblett and Jon Cotton

For More Information

See NASA.gov



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