NASA’s OSIRIS-REx to Asteroid Bennu: “You’ve got a little Vesta on you…”

During spring 2019, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft captured these images, which show fragments of asteroid Vesta present on asteroid Bennu’s surface. The bright boulders (circled in the images) are pyroxene-rich material from Vesta. Some bright material appear to be individual rocks (left) while others appear to be clasts within larger boulders (right). (Credits: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona)

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — In an interplanetary faux pas, it appears some pieces of asteroid Vesta ended up on asteroid Bennu, according to observations from NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. The new result sheds light on the intricate orbital dance of asteroids and on the violent origin of Bennu, which is a “rubble pile” asteroid that coalesced from the fragments of a massive collision.


Impacts on Asteroids Produce Regolith, Erase Small Craters

A shaded-relief map of a surface cratering simulation of near-Earth asteroid 433 Eros, color-coded according to surface elevation (blue = -125 meters, pink = +125 meters). The surface is shown after 400 million years of exposure to the Main Asteroid Belt, where Eros spent most of its lifetime. (Credit: James Richardson)

TUCSON (PSI PR) — Impact cratering both produces new regolith and causes seismic events that can degrade and erase small craters on the surface of asteroids, a paper by Planetary Science Institute Senior Scientist James Richardson says.


Hayabusa2 Images Ryugu’s Surface at Highest Resolution Yet

Figure 1. Image of Ryugu captured by the ONC-T at an altitude of about 64m. Image was taken on September 21, 2018 at around 13:04 JST.This is the highest resolution photograph obtained of the surface of Ryugu. Bottom left is a large boulder. (Credit: JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, Aizu University, AIST).

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — When Hayabusa2 descended towards Ryugu for the MINERVA-II1 deployment operation, the ONC-T (Optical Navigation Camera – Telescopic) captured images at the highest resolution to date.

This next figure shows the location of Figure 1 on Ryugu.

Figure 2. Region of the highest resolution image. Yellow boxes correspond to the region in Figure 1. (Left) The region is shown on the ONC-T global image of Ryugu. (Right) ONC-W1 image, taken at 70 m height. 2018-09-21 13:02(JST). (Image credit: JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, Aizu University, AIST).

Highest resolution image obtained by Hayabusa

Figure 3. High resolution image of the surface of asteroid Itokawa photographed by Hayabusa. “D” is taken from an altitude of 63m. It is thought that the so-called “Muses Sea” (official name “MUSES-C Regio”) is covered with a “gravel” of granules with diameters from a few mm to few cm. (From Yano et al, Science Vol 312 2, June 2006)

Particles Collected by Hayabusa Give Absolute Age of Asteroid Itokawa

The cross section area of the particle collected from the asteroid Itokawa using Hayabusa spacecraft. (Credit: Osaka University)

OSAKA, Japan (Osaka University PR) — Understanding the origin and time evolution of near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) is an issue of scientific interest and practical importance because they are potentially hazardous to the Earth. However, when and how these NEAs were formed and what they suffered during their lifetime remain enigmas.


Japan Plans Sample Return from Martian Moons

MMX on-orbit configuration (Credit: JAXA)

Japan is planning a complex mission that will study the moons of Mars and return soil samples to Earth.

Set for launch in September 2024, the Martian Moons Exploration (MMX) mission would spend three years exploring Phobos and Deimos before departing in August 2028 for a return to Earth 11 months later.


Hey Scientists, You Want to Examine an Asteroid Sample?

1st International Announcement of Opportunity for
HAYABUSA Sample Investigation

JAXA PR — Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has been engaged in initial analysis* of Itokawa’s sample brought back by HAYABUSA. On this occasion we would like to inform you of offering the announcement of opportunity for HAYABUSA Sample Investigation.

Through the peer review, JAXA will provide HAYABUSA sample to researcher who submits research proposal in the framework of this Announce of Opportunity (herein after referred as “AO”). This AO is planned to be conducted a few times. The 1st International AO issues on January 24th 2012.