It sounds like a science fiction movie, but as Dr Niamh Shaw explains in our latest edition of Space Hub, a spacecraft is going to land on an asteroid named Bennu to take samples which will help us learn about asteroids and our solar system.

You can watch it live on the link below from NASA's YouTube Channel.

This is a simulation of how the OSIRIS-REx will land on the surface of Bennu and take off with the precious samples safely. It will be amazing feat.

 

Here are some facts on the asteroid Bennu from NASA

  • The asteroid was discovered by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) survey on September 11, 1999.
  • Bennu's original designation was 1999 RQ36. In 2013, a third-grade student named Michael Puzio won a contest to name the asteroid.
  • It has drifted into near-Earth space because of gravitational interactions with giant planets and the gentle push of heating from the Sun. 
  • It's density is only about 30 percent more than water. This suggests the asteroid is probably a loose collection of rocks, like a pile of rubble.
  • Bennu has a close approach to Earth every six years. 
  • Scientists estimate Bennu has a 1-in-2,700 chance of impacting the Earth during one of its close approaches to the Earth in the late 22nd century.
  • Bennu may burn up in the Sun. Over millions of years, of all of the planets, Bennu is most likely to hit Venus.
  • The boulder that juts from Bennu's south pole is about 164 feet (50 meters) high and 180 feet (55 meters) wide.
  • Although some asteroids have moons, Bennu does not.
  • NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission will reveal Bennu in unprecedented detail. It will collect a sample and return it to Earth in 2023.
An image of Bennu from NASA/ Goddard

For more loads more on the asteroid and the mission check out the official website: www.asteroidmission.org/