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Current Affairs > Science and Technology > 2018-12-04 > Science and Technology

NASA’s Osiris-Rex arrives at asteroid Bennu

What in news:

·         NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft completed its 1.2 billion-mile (2 billion-kilometer) journey to arrive at the asteroid Bennu.

About news:

·         NASA’s Osiris-Rex spacecraft pulled alongside the asteroid Bennu.

·         Its mission is to survey the asteroid before retrieving pristine bits of the solar system from the rock’s surface and then bringing them back to Earth in the years ahead.

·         Asteroids are remnants of the building blocks that formed the planets and enabled life.

·         The spacecraft will enter orbit around Bennu thus making Bennu, which is only about 1,600 feet (492 meters) across -- or about the length of five football fields -- the smallest object ever orbited by a spacecraft.

·         It’s a critical step in OSIRIS-REx’s years-long quest to collect and eventually deliver at least two ounces (60 grams) of regolith -- dirt and rocks -- from Bennu to Earth.

Benefits:

·         OSIRIS-REx’s mission will help scientists investigate how planets formed and how life began, as well as improve our understanding of asteroids that could impact Earth.

·          Those like Bennu contain natural resources, such as water, organics and metals.

·         Future space exploration and economic development may rely on asteroids for these materials.

Why Bennu:

·         Bennu, discovered in 1999, is a carbon-rich, almost black asteroid, about 1,600 feet wide.

·         Scientists believe that it is a conglomeration of leftovers from the formation of the solar system, largely unchanged over the last 4.5 billion years.

Expected prelims question

Consider the following statements

1.        OSIRIS-REx is in to he space to explore jupiter

2.        Its mission is to discover the formation of solar system

Which of the above statements are correct.

a)       Only 1

b)      Only 2

c)       Both 1 and 2

d)      None of  above

Ans - b

Expected mains question

NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft is into space. In light to this statement analyse the reasons to explore Asteroid Bennu in space.