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This 4.5-billion-year-old asteroid may hold the answer to how the Earth came into being, Nasa shares post

The post by Nasa goes on to detail how the spacecraft is returning to Earth after five years of collecting samples from the ancient asteroid.
By Srimoyee Chowdhury
PUBLISHED ON MAY 13, 2021 04:41 PM IST
The image shows the asteroid Bennu taken by OSIRISRex spacecraft.(Instagram/@nasa)

If different celestial bodies present in the space and our solar system spark your interest, then this recent share by Nasa may leave you fascinated. Mentioning an ancient asteroid, Nasa shared a post on Instagram, detailing experiments that are yet to be conducted with the samples of the 4.5-billion-year-old asteroid Bennu. The post may leave you with many questions and eagerness to know more about the asteroid.

“STOP: 4.5-billion-year-old asteroid crossing! You’re looking at a real image of asteroid Bennu captured from @NASASolarSystem’s #OSIRISRex spacecraft,” read the first few lines of the post. It goes on to detail how the spacecraft is returning to Earth after five years of collecting samples from the ancient asteroid.

“In 2023, the samples will arrive back at our home planet where they’ll be transported to @NASAJohnson and distributed to laboratories worldwide, enabling scientists to study the formation of our solar system and Earth as a habitable planet. We’ll set 75% of the sample aside for future generations to study with technologies not invented yet!” it adds. The post is complete with a picture of the asteroid Bennu.

Take a look at post:

Shared on May 12, the post has garnered over 1.7 million likes and several reactions. While many were stunned to see the ancient asteroid, others had many questions regarding the asteroid.

“What does Bennu mean?” asked one individual. To which Nasa replied, “Bennu was named in 2013 by a nine-year-old boy from North Carolina who won the Name that Asteroid! Competition. Michael Puzio won the contest by suggesting that the spacecraft’s Touch-and-Go Sample Mechanism (TAGSAM) arm and solar panels resemble the neck and wings in illustrations of Bennu, whom ancient Egyptians usually depicted as a gray heron. Bennu is the ancient Egyptian deity linked with the Sun, creation and rebirth.”

“Wow! This is so interesting,” commented another. “I can’t wait to know more about Bennu,” wrote a third.

What are your thoughts on this share?

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