Bennu asteroid samples still have scientists scratching their heads – DNyuz

Bennu asteroid samples still have scientists scratching their heads

The first analysis of the Bennu asteroid samples that NASA brought to Earth earlier this year has revealed some interesting results. Scientists are still puzzled by the new results of a recent analysis on Bennu asteroid samples. We already knew that Bennu is abundant in water and carbon, but this latest study has raised some questions.

According to a post shared on Nature, scientists working with the new samples from Bennu have been particularly taken aback by the amount of magnesium, sodium, and phosphate found in the skin of the chunks taken from Bennu. This is a composition rarely seen in meteorites, and it has left scientists a bit baffled.

Even though scientists don’t know what to think of the Bennu samples yet, they still have a great deal of work ahead of them when it comes time to analyze them. We still do not have the ability to access the core of the material which is located inside OSIRIS REx’s return canister.

NASA has been working on a screwdriver to remove the final screws that hold that section of the canister shut, allowing scientists access to all of Bennu’s samples. For now, though, there are plenty of pieces that were caught outside the canister, including a massive 3. 5-centimeter-long rock, the biggest collected at Bennu thus far.

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This particular rock actually jammed the spacecraft’s collection mechanism when it was sucked up. It’s a dark color, almost to the point of being black, Nature reports, and it has a bluish sheen. It’s very similar to the boulders found on the surface of the asteroid, scientists say.

The scientists are still trying to figure out the other pieces that were taken by the spacecraft. They are lighter colored but just as mysterious. So far, astronomers and curators have cataloged more than 1,000 Bennu samples, the report states. This is only for those Bennu samples that have a minimum size of half a millimeter.

The post Bennu asteroid samples still have scientists scratching their heads appeared first on BGR.