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Why Did We Just Shoot A “Bullet” At An Asteroid?

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Channel: Seeker
Categories: Astronomy   |   Science  
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We keep sending spacecrafts to asteroids, but what makes these floating space rocks so special? Well, they could reveal the secrets about the formation of our solar system.

The Mystery of Our First Interstellar Visitor Just Got More Complicated -

Read More:
Japan’s Hayabusa2 Spacecraft Lands on Ryugu Asteroid
"To make small enough fragments, the spacecraft fired a projectile made of the metal tantalum — basically a bullet — at the asteroid’s surface. Earlier this month, the mission’s managers reported their simulation of this procedure on Earth to demonstrate that it would be able to succeed."

OSIRIS-REx: Asteroid Sample Return Mission
"Bennu may contain the molecular precursors to the origin of life and the Earth’s oceans. Bennu is also one of the most potentially hazardous asteroids, as it has a relatively high probability of impacting the Earth late in the 22nd century. Finally, asteroids like Bennu contain natural resources such as water, organics, and precious metals. In the future, these asteroids may one day fuel the exploration of the solar system by robotic and manned spacecraft."

"The mission is led by Arizona State University. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is responsible for mission management, operations and navigation. The spacecraft's solar-electric propulsion chassis will be built by SSL with a payload that includes an imager, magnetometer, and a gamma-ray spectrometer."


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