Asteroid Bennu revealed various surprises

Seven articles published in the magazines “Nature”, “Nature Astronomy”, “Nature Geoscience” and “Nature Communications” report a series of research results about asteroid Bennu. Hundreds of scientists used data gathered by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx space probe to study in particular various aspects of Bennu’s geology. The results will be useful in various other studies, from those about the origin of life’s building blocks that sowed the Earth to those about the solar system’s formation, including some practical ones such as the search for an area on which OSIRIS-REx can descend to take samples to assessments of the danger posed by asteroids such as Bennu.

The InSight lander seen by the TGO (Image ESA/Roscosmos/CaSSIS, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

ESA has published a series of photos taken by its TGO space probe’s CaSSIS camera, part of the ExoMars mission run together with the Russian space agency Roscosmos. CaSSIS found NASA’s InSight lander on the surface of Mars along with its heat shield, the back shell that protected it during the descent and its parachute. In the course of its mission, CaSSIS also captured extraordinary images of various areas of the red planet showing the great potential to help researchers in their studies.

A plan by NASA to bring astronauts back to the Moon in 2028 and to Mars in the following decade

At a press conference, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine announced the new version of the agency’s plans to bring astronauts back to the Moon and build the Lunar Gateway over the next decade as steps to bring astronauts to Mars during the 2030s. Jim Bridenstine referred to the NASA budget for 2020, which at $21 billion sees an increase granted also to push ahead with these new plans.