Meteoroid Strikes Eject Precious Water From Moon

Researchers from NASA and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, report that streams of meteoroids striking the Moon infuse the thin lunar atmosphere with a short-lived water vapor. The findings will help scientists understand the history of lunar water – a potential resource for sustaining long term operations on the Moon …Read More

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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

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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

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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

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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

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NASA To Host Media Teleconference On Asteroid Sample Return Mission

NASA is hosting a media teleconference at 1:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday, March 19, to announce new science from the agency’s first mission to return to Earth an asteroid sample that may contain unaltered material from the very beginning of our solar system. The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft launched Sept. 8, …Read More

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NASA Selects Teams To Study Untouched Moon Samples

NASA has selected nine teams to continue the science legacy of the Apollo missions by studying pieces of the Moon that have been carefully stored and untouched for nearly 50 years. A total of $8 million has been awarded to the teams. “By studying these precious lunar samples for the first time, a new generation …Read More

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Where’s The Water? Two Resource-Hunting Tools For The Moon’s Surface

Launching one pound of any material into space costs thousands of dollars. Since a gallon of water weighs more than eight pounds, it’s easy to see that the ability to generate water, air and fuel in space could represent enormous cost savings for future deep-space missions. And that would make human exploration of the Moon, …Read More

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Asteroid Bennu, Target Of NASA’s Sample Return Mission, Is Rotating Faster Over Time

In late 2018, the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft arrived at Bennu, the asteroid it will be studying and sampling over the next several years. Now, new research in the AGU journal Geophysical Research Letters shows Bennu is spinning faster over time – an observation that will help scientists understand the …Read More

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SWIM Project Maps Potential Sources Of Mars Water

Missions carrying humans to Mars will require on-site resources, and a project led by Planetary Science Institute (PSI) scientists Nathaniel Putzig and Gareth Morgan is mapping the availability of potential shallow water-ice sources across the surface of the Red Planet.  Two teams led by Putzig and Morgan were contracted by NASA to pursue separate mapping …Read More

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