The uniqueness is noticeable to the naked eye: Scientists are amazed by the samples of the asteroid Bennu

NASA scientists are now actively studying samples of an asteroid that has existed since the beginning of our Solar System. And what they have already discovered is amazing.

This image taken by NASA in Houston, Texas, shows the exterior of the OSIRIS-REx container with valuable scientific material from the asteroid Bennu. Photo: NASA

According to the journal Nature, during NASA’s first mission to collect samples from the asteroid Bennu, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft collected a unique dust with great value for science. However, the problem with the screws of the sealed container still does not allow scientists to get to the valuable rocks of the Bennu. Although scientists have managed to get 70 grams of cosmic dust, access to more is still difficult.

However, scientists have already analyzed some of the samples. The first results are impressive, and their uniqueness is noticeable even to the naked eye. Most of the collected material is black, but some fragments have a blue sheen, and other lighter fragments reflect light so that they stand out against the background of other rocks delivered by OSIRIS-REx

A capsule with samples from the asteroid Bennu was delivered by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx to Earth shortly after landing in the desert on Sunday, September 24, 2023. Authorship: NASA

According to preliminary analysis, the lighter fragments contain magnesium, phosphate and sodium. And under their bright and fragile outer layer, a darker rock opens up. Even more surprising is that such a combination is considered rare for asteroids, which makes it a mystery to scientists.

It has also been found that the samples contain organic compounds that can be a building material for life because they contain carbon-carbon or carbon-hydrogen bonds. Similar compounds have previously been found in meteorites on Earth, so hypothetically, these carbon-rich minerals could contribute to the emergence of life on our planet.

Despite the technical difficulties, the scientists managed to physically work with the ancient materials of the asteroid. The samples from Bennu are of great importance, given their uniqueness and possible contribution to understanding the origin of life in the Solar System.

Earlier, we reported on how a sample of the asteroid Bennu gathered a crowd at the museum.

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