NASA’s spacecraft named Osiris-Rex recently managed to land on the Bennu asteroid. The examination revealed that the meteorite was empty inside.
There are many strange structures among the celestial bodies studied in recent years, but none are as interesting as the Bennu asteroid. The more this asteroid is studied, the stranger it gets. Now the meteorite turned out to be empty inside.
NASA vehicle Osiris-Rex, which recently landed on the asteroid surface, was placed on Bennu, which is the ideal landing point with its relatively flat surface. Images from the vehicle also provided information about the structure of the asteroid.
Asteroid surface shattered
NASA found one of the flattest spots on the asteroid and landed at that point and took off immediately after taking the sample. Although the researchers were surprised that the samples collected were much softer than expected, the real surprise came later: the surface on which the vehicle was built began to collapse.
The spacecraft sprayed nitrogen to aerate samples of stones and dust and then pulled airborne fragments. The researchers, who were not ready for the soft surface of the planet, therefore collected more fragments than planned. This caused damage to the sample material chamber of the vehicle.
What happened was not the end of the surprises about Bennu. Recently, researchers from the University of Colorado announced the results of their work on research samples collected by the spacecraft. According to research, the asteroid is hollow.
Bennu tears himself apart
“It’s as if the asteroid has a hole in the center, you can fit a few football fields into this space.” Aerospace Engineering Science Department professor Daniel Scheers said the meteorite could go to its end.
In the studies, the gravity data obtained by Osiris-Rex during his time around Bennu were used. At the same time, it was stated that Bennu scatters marble-sized rock fragments into space when he turns around his axis. Tracking the movements of the fragments, mission managers calculated the central gravity of the asteroid.
Bennu’s weakest point is in the equatorial region. The celestial body rotates around its own axis every four hours and gets faster and faster. This is why Scheers states that the celestial body may rupture itself in the future due to this rotation.