Dramatic sampling shows asteroid Bennu is not living up to scientists’ expectations

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission unleashed an unexpected explosion when it landed on the asteroid Bennu in October 2020 to collect a valuable sample to carry home to Earth.

Mission scientists have detailed the dramatic sampling that led to startling discoveries about the nature of the asteroid in two new studies. And the results are not only intriguing: The researchers say the results could have implications for a possible future diversionary mission should the 1,640-foot-wide (500-meter) Bennu (one of the riskiest known near-Earth asteroids) ever threaten to affect the planet.