NASA Invests In Concepts Aimed At Exploring Craters, Mining Asteroids

Robotically surveying lunar craters in record time and mining resources in space could help NASA establish a sustained human presence at the Moon – part of the agency’s broader Moon to Mars exploration approach. Two mission concepts to explore these capabilities have been selected as the first-ever Phase III studies within the NASA Innovative Advanced …Read More

Share Button

NASA’s Psyche Mission Has A Metal World In Its Sights

Designed to explore a metal asteroid that could be the heart of a planet, the Psyche mission is readying for a 2022 launch. After extensive review, NASA Headquarters in Washington has approved the mission to begin the final design and fabrication phase, otherwise known as Phase C. This is when the Psyche team finalizes the …Read More

Share Button

Mass Anomaly Detected Under The Moon’s Largest Crater

A mysterious large mass of material has been discovered beneath the largest crater in our solar system — the Moon’s South Pole-Aitken basin — and may contain metal from the asteroid that crashed into the Moon and formed the crater, according to a Baylor University study. “Imagine taking a pile of metal five times larger …Read More

Share Button

NASA Invites Public To Help Asteroid Mission Choose Sample Site

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission to the asteroid Bennu needs extra pairs of eyes to help choose its sample collection site on the asteroid – and to look for anything else that might be scientifically interesting. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has been at Bennu since December 3, 2018, mapping the asteroid in detail, while the mission team searches …Read More

Share Button

ASU Researchers Find Water In Samples From Asteroid Itokawa

Two cosmochemists at Arizona State University have made the first-ever measurements of water contained in samples from the surface of an asteroid. The samples came from asteroid Itokawa and were collected by the Japanese space probe Hayabusa. The team’s findings suggest that impacts early in Earth’s history by similar asteroids could have delivered as much …Read More

Share Button

OSIRIS-REx Captures Laser 3D View Of Bennu

This colorful new glimpse of asteroid Bennu is the first 3D lidar map created since the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft’s arrival at the asteroid in December 2018. The three-dimensional shape model is based on data gathered by the Canadian Space Agency’s OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter (OLA) instrument. To create the image, over 11 million laser pulses were fired …Read More

Share Button

SwRI-Led Team Discovers Surprisingly Old Surface On Near-Earth Asteroid

A Southwest Research Institute-led team has discovered that the surface geology on asteroid Bennu is older than expected. Early observations of the near-Earth asteroid (NEA) by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission indicate a surface that is between 100 million and 1 billion years old. “We expected small, kilometer-sized NEAs to have young, frequently refreshed surfaces,” said SwRI’s …Read More

Share Button

Hayabusa2 Probes Asteroid For Secrets

The first data received from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft in orbit of asteroid Ryugu helps space scientists explore conditions in the early solar system. The space probe gathered vast amounts of images and other data which gives researchers clues about Ryugu’s history, such as how it may have formed from a larger parent body. These details …Read More

Share Button

SwRI-Led Team Identifies Water-Bearing Minerals On Asteroid Bennu

A Southwest Research Institute-led team discovered evidence of abundant water-bearing minerals on the surface of the near-Earth asteroid (101955) Bennu. Using early spectral data from NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft orbiting the asteroid, the team identified infrared properties similar to those in a type of meteorite called carbonaceous chondrites. “Scientists are interested in the composition of Bennu …Read More

Share Button

A Region Of Bennu’s Northern Hemisphere Close Up

This trio of images acquired by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft shows a wide shot and two close-ups of a region in asteroid Bennu’s northern hemisphere. The wide-angle image (left), obtained by the spacecraft’s MapCam camera, shows a 590-foot (180-meter) wide area with many rocks, including some large boulders, and a “pond” of regolith that is mostly …Read More

Share Button