For the very first time in history, NASA was finally able to get a really up-close look at a particular asteroid sailing by and leaving a rubbled trail of debris following its wake. The OSIRIS-REx, NASA's very own spacecraft, was previously sent with the objective of observing the known asteroid Bennu finding certain sheds particles, rocks, and even other pieces of itself on a really regular basis, these are all according to a series of papers that were previously published in the known Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets on Wednesday.
It's finally the very first time that NASA got a close-up of an asteroid's ejection. This gives scientists a really unprecedented view of outer space rocks as it simple hurtles through the sky.
The full sky
Scientists have discovered the shower of both rocks and debris almost entirely by accident, according to the recent NASA press release. The lead author along with the University of Arizona scientist known as Carl Hergenrother was previously poring over the known images of constellations that the OSIRIS-REx takes in order to orient itself when he suddenly noticed that there actually appeared to be about hundreds of extra stars shows in the images. After a much closer look, he then realized it was actually Bennu's trail.
According to Hergenrother, he was actually just looking at star patterns throughout the images and thought to himself saying he does not remember that particular star cluster. He then said that it was noticeable because there were already 200 dots of light where there should actually be just about 10 stars. Aside from this, it actually just looked to be a sort of dense part of the night sky.
Quite thankfully, NASA is very confident that the known OSIRIS-REx is actually still safe despite the really close proximity towards the crumbling asteroid. The given reason that scientists had previously never noticed the whole extent of the ejection in the past is that a number of the fragments are actually way too small to notice from Earth.
Hergenrother also added that in order to properly give an idea, the entire 200 particles that were observed during the first event after the arrival would definitely fit on a particular 4-inch x 4-inch tile. The scientist also added that the fact that they were something we could not see is a testament to the camera's capabilities.
NASA's recent accomplishment shows the power of telescopes and what they are capable of doing within the extraterrestrial domain. The limitations of human beings are being made up for by the use of high powered telescopes being able of capturing the spectacular wonders of the universe which humans are incapable of seeing with our eyes alone.
NASA has made progress with the OSIRIS-REx, what will they be able to accomplish next.
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Written by Urian Buenconsejo