Thirty Seconds on Asteroid Bennu – Transcript


On October 20, 2020, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft collected a sample of asteroid Bennu.


The event revealed surprising details about Bennu’s surface and near-subsurface.


One second after contact, OSIRIS-REx injected Bennu with pressurized nitrogen gas…


Causing an explosion of particles and driving loose material into its sample collector.


Nine seconds after contact, thrusters on board OSIRIS-REx halted its descent into Bennu…


Pushing it away from the asteroid, and blasting loose material from the sample site.


The spacecraft’s arm had sunk almost half a meter beneath the surface…


Far deeper than expected, confirming that Bennu’s surface is incredibly weak.


Sixteen seconds after contact, the arm fully reemerged from the subsurface.


OSIRIS-REx had collected a handful of material and kicked up roughly six tons of loose rock.


Thirty seconds after contact, it shut off its thrusters and drifted away from Bennu.


OSIRIS-REx will return its sample to Earth in September 2023.