Asteroid Bennu, the Storyteller
Asteroids are the storytellers of our solar system’s youth. They are the closest we can get to the original material that makes up the sun, planets, and moons.
This week, our OSIRIS-REx spacecraft made history when it touched a pristine, ancient asteroid named Bennu to collect a sample from the surface. The intrepid spacecraft will now bring the asteroid sample – and its stories – back home to Earth.
Why is it that asteroid Bennu holds the history of our origins? Let’s go back to the beginning…
About 4.5 billion years ago, our solar system began as a spinning, swirling cloud made up of tiny bits of gaseous and rocky material. Most of that material – more than 99% of it – gathered in the center and went on to become the Sun.
The leftovers began to spin around the Sun, colliding into one another and forming larger and larger objects, eventually becoming planets, dwarf planets, and moons.
But asteroids didn’t become part of planets or moons. So, while the material in planets and moons were superheated and altered during the formation of the solar system and weathered by geologic processes over time, asteroids remained pristine.
Each asteroid holds knowledge from that special time in our solar system’s history. Each one contains information about the chemicals, minerals, and molecules that were present when the solar system was just starting to form.
With missions like OSIRIS-REx, we are going on a journey to these ancient worlds, seeking to learn what they remember, seeking to expand our knowledge, and deepen our understanding of our origins.
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Guilty in Silence
By Bud Koenemund
(Written: October 2017)
For Arthur H. Monigold
He told me not to tell, and I didn’t. His own grandson – once untainted; trusting – Protecting a monster whose sin imprints The soul, poisoning innocence with lust; Breeding this maelstrom raging through my brain: Lightning strikes of emotion – wrath and shame; Hate and self-doubt – a tempest unconstrained. Yet, misery lurks darkest in that blame I carry for silence. An accomplice To evil; remaining mute as he forced This curse upon others; rending solace From family: a guilt beyond recourse. Though my flesh bears no scar, memory steals Peace with injuries time will never heal.