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.