"Potentially dangerous" astroid, presumably harboring alien life, rushes to Earth. The US space agency NASA has calculated that the likelihood of an asteroid, known as Benn, in the next century will hit our planet in the next century, which will put an end to life on Earth as we know it. And recently released photos showed the most detailed views of the strange kind of “asteroid apocalypse.”
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, chasing Bennu, made incredibly detailed images of the deadly cosmic stone over a distance of 1.4 billion miles.
OSIRIS-REx has revolved around Bennu since the beginning of 2019, trying to learn more about the asteroid.
With a diameter of 500 m (1600 feet), Bennu is the smallest object ever to be in orbit around an artificial satellite.
The last series of shots was taken when OSIRIS-REx was just one mile above the surface of Bennu.
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The OSIRIS-REx Twitter account wrote: “While I fly Benn during Orbital A, my scientific cameras do not collect data.
"But my imager navCam 1 shoots optical navigation images like these to control my way around the asteroid."
Two years ago, OSIRIS-REx detached from Earth for a mission to study and return a sample to Bennu in 2023.
OSIRIS-REx will revolve around Bennu until the end of the year, before approaching close enough to snatch a rock sample from the surface of the asteroid.
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The goal of the OSIRIS-REx mission is to return a 2.1 ounce sample of regolith.
The OSIRIS-REx Twitter account added: “For those who follow the house, I have driven a little less than 1.4 billion miles (2.2 billion kilometers) since leaving home in September 2016.
"I will stay in orbit around Bennu until the end of February, when I begin a series of flights for a detailed survey."
The Bennu asteroid is believed to be a carbon-rich rock that potentially contains foreign organic matter.
A NASA statement explains: “Analyzing a sample from Bennu will help planetary scientists better understand the role that asteroids could play in delivering life-forming compounds to Earth.
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“From the study of Bennu using ground-based and space telescopes, we know that this is a carbon or carbon-rich asteroid. Carbon is the core on which organic molecules hang.
“Bennu is probably rich in organic molecules that consist of carbon chains linked to oxygen atoms, hydrogen and other elements in a chemical recipe that makes all known living things.
"In addition to carbon, Bennu can also have another vital component: water, which is retained in the minerals that make up the asteroid."
The space probe took a close-up shot using the NavCam 1 navigation camera, which it typically uses to track the trajectory of the Bennu orbit.
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