Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Home Lead Story Scientists Hopeful for Signs of Life on Asteroid Bennu

Scientists Hopeful for Signs of Life on Asteroid Bennu

In a collection of six papers published in the journals Science and Science Advances, scientists present new findings on asteroid Bennu's surface material, geological characteristics and dynamic history

As a NASA spacecraft gets ready for the historic moment to grab a sample from asteroid Bennu’s surface on October 20, scientists on the mission are hopeful that hydrated minerals and organic material will likely be present in the collected sample, finally revealing some signs of life in the alien world.

In a special collection of six papers published in the journals Science and Science Advances, scientists present new findings on asteroid Bennu’s surface material, geological characteristics and dynamic history.

Follow NewsGram on Instagram to keep yourself updated.

They suspect that the delivered sample of Bennu may be unlike anything we have in the meteorite collection on Earth, NASA said in a statement. OSIRIS-REx will depart Bennu in 2021 and deliver the sample to Earth on September 24, 2023.

One of the papers, led by Amy Simon from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, shows that carbon-bearing, organic material is widespread on the asteroid’s surface. These materials are present at the mission’s primary sample site, Nightingale, where OSIRIS-REx will make its first sample collection attempt on October 20.

This organic matter may contain carbon in a form often found in biology or in compounds associated with biology.

New findings trigger hope for signs of life on asteroid Bennu
Scientists are planning detailed experiments on these organic molecules and expect that the returned sample will help answer complex questions about the origins of water and life on Earth. Unsplash

“The abundance of carbon-bearing material is a major scientific triumph for the mission. We are now optimistic that we will collect and return a sample with organic material — a central goal of the OSIRIS-REx mission,”

said Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator at the University of Arizona in Tucson in the US.

Scientists are planning detailed experiments on these organic molecules and expect that the returned sample will help answer complex questions about the origins of water and life on Earth. The authors have determined that carbonate minerals make up some of the asteroid’s geological features. Carbonate minerals often precipitate from hydrothermal systems that contain both water and carbon dioxide.

The findings have allowed scientists to theorise that Bennu’s parent asteroid likely had an extensive hydrothermal system, where water interacted with and altered the rock on Bennu’s parent body.

Scientists made another striking discovery at site Nightingale: its regolith has only recently been exposed to the harsh space environment, meaning that the mission will collect and return some of the most pristine material on the asteroid.

Also Read: Wishes Pour In as Rekha Turns 66

The findings are a major milestone in an ongoing debate in the planetary science community – how primitive asteroids like Bennu change spectrally as they are exposed to “space weathering” processes, such as bombardment by cosmic rays and solar wind.

“The mission is less than two weeks away from fulfilling its biggest goal – collecting a piece of a pristine, hydrated, carbon-rich asteroid,”

NASA said. (IANS)

STAY CONNECTED

19,120FansLike
362FollowersFollow
1,773FollowersFollow

Most Popular

High Omega-3 Levels Reduce The Death Risk In Covid

People with higher omega-3 levels in their blood may have a reduced risk of death from Covid-19 infection, a new study suggests. The findings, published...

People Hesitant To Visit The Emergency In USA For Children

Nearly one in four families in the USA had said that they would be unlikely to bring their child to the emergency ward if...

UNEP Says There Is An Increase In Climate Litigations

Climate litigation cases have spiked in recent years, making the courtroom increasingly relevant to efforts to address climate change around the world, an UN...

Study Links Light Pollution And Preterm Birth

Light pollution, based on a direct measure of skyglow, could increase the likelihood of preterm birth, a new study suggests. The study, published in the...

A Farmer Protest Timeline: How Things Turned Violent In Delhi On R-Day

Farmers, who were seen as friendly and peaceful for more than 60 days as they waited for the government to accept their terms, suddenly...

Happy Childhood May Lower Drug Risk Among Teens

If your teenage child has memories of a happy childhood, they are less likely to indulge in drinking or substance abuse and enjoy learning,...

Priyanka Chopra: Its Enlightening To Understand The Importance Of Women In Leadership

Actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas is celebrating the women who helped in drafting the Indian Constitution and says it has been enlightening to understand the...

72nd Republic Day: Time For A Patriotic Musical Rewind

As India celebrates 72nd Republic Day on Tuesday, it is time for a musical rewind of Republic Day songs. There are countless classics that spring...

Recent Comments