Pieces of Asteroid Vesta Made Their Way On Bennu
What A Surprise! Another Space Rock Sported On Asteroid Bennu: Somehow, parts of the Vesta asteroid found their way to a much smaller planet, the Bennu Space Rock. It is currently hosted by a NASA spacecraft.
For almost two years, after the 2018 arrival of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, formally known as the Origins, Spectral Perception, Resource Detection, and Security-Regolith Explorer. Bennu’s ‘rubble pile’ appearance has puzzled scientists. In October, the spacecraft will attempt to steal a sample from Bennu. If everything goes according to plan, it will deliver it for further study on Earth in 2023.
Discovering some parts of another asteroid on the surface of Bennu provides more information to scientists. It includes information on how asteroids orbited during the early history of our neighbourhood in the solar system. The discovery also shows details on the violent history of Bennu. The asteroid formed from the fragments of a significant collision.
“We found six boulders ranging in size from 5 to 14 feet — about 1.5 to 4.3 meters — scattered across Bennu’s southern hemisphere and near the equator,” Daniella DellaGiustina, a senior staff scientist at the University of Arizona, Tucson, said in a NASA statement.
Scientist Talk About Its Light
Images from OSIRIS-REx showed bright boulders full of pyroxene, an igneous rock characteristic of Vesta rocks, called pyroxene. Up to 10 times brighter than their surroundings were the stones. Using the spacecraft’s visible and infrared spectrometer, scientists analysed the light reflected off the boulders, giving them a sense of the chemical composition of the rocks.
The research team proposed that Bennu most likely inherited these oddball rocks from his parent asteroid. It happened after a so-called vestoid, a fragment of vesta struck the parent body.
“When the parent asteroid was catastrophically disrupted, a portion of its debris accumulated under its own gravity into Bennu, including some of the pyroxene from Vesta,”
Hannah Kaplan, a research space scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, said in a statement.
Various Possibilities Exist About The Vesta
Other possibilities exist for the origins of these rocks. It is likely that the boulders, rather than Vesta, were already on Bennu ‘s parent asteroid. But after rocky material melts at elevated temperatures, pyroxene typically forms. Bennu is mainly made of rocks with water-bearing minerals that could not have existed in such an area.
Though seeing bits of Vesta on Bennu sounds like reaching the celestial lottery. Finding bits of one asteroid on the surface of another is not so strange. There is a random black boulder on asteroid Itokawa. The otherwise carbonaceous Ryugu reveals patches of material from silica asteroids. The lighter crater walls of Vesta sport odd dark material.
What all this behaviour reveals is that asteroid orbits are continually changing as planetary pulls. The other artefacts modify their paths in space. It can also cause space rocks to crash, as spacecraft are seeing numerous asteroids in the solar system now.
Other reports indicate that Bennu used to be in the central asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter before finding its near-Earth orbit. The inner main-belt has two families of asteroids that have carbonaceous asteroids. It was close to the composition of what would have been the parent body of Bennu.
Scientists are puzzled as to why fragments of Vesta have appeared on Bennu. But why no other types of asteroids on Bennu have been found. The vestoids were possibly derived from the impact basins of Veneneia and Rheasilvia on Vesta.