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Asteroid Bennu may have been home to ancient water flows

Perhaps as a prelude to this attempt, researchers just published a number of new studies about the geochemistry of Bennu today in the journals Science and Science Advances, providing some of the biggest revelations to date. Here are the most compelling.

Bennu’s watery history

In the first Science study, scientists used high-resolution images taken by OSIRIS-Rex, as well as spectroscopy (which involves analyzing electromagnetic waves emitted from Bennu to determine its chemistry), to better understand the composition and history of the asteroid’s Nightingale crater region, where the sample will be collected.

They found that boulders in this area showed bright veins, narrow in width but about a meter in length, similar to what’s found in other carbonaceous chondritic meteorites that have landed on Earth. In those cases, the veins indicate that the rock had once interacted with flowing water. 

So naturally, for Bennu, “the veins suggest that water flowed through

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