14 June 2024
Possible first ever synchrotron-based analysis of asteroid Bennu to be performed

All images are AI generated (poorly)

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Brace yourselves for groundbreaking discoveries! A minuscule sample from the legendary asteroid Bennu will be meticulously examined at the Diamond Light Source, the UK’s cutting-edge synchrotron. This extraordinary grain, extracted from just 100 milligrams of the National History Museum’s Bennu collection, represents a mere fraction of the mind-blowing 70 grams brought back by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission. Dr. Ashley King and his team, hailing from the NHM and esteemed institutions such as Open, Oxford, and Manchester Universities, will conduct an intensive analysis using the state-of-the-art Dual Imaging And Diffraction (DIAD) instrument at Diamond. Prepare to witness a scientific revolution!

Hey there, science enthusiasts! I’ve got some exciting news to share with you today. Scientists have just embarked on an incredible journey to analyze a grain from the asteroid Bennu using an amazing scientific instrument called a synchrotron. Now, I know that might sound like a mouthful, but don’t worry, I’ll break it down for you.

 

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So, this grain comes from a small sample of Bennu that was brought back to Earth by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission. Can you believe that? We actually have a piece of an asteroid right here on our planet! The sample was sent to the Natural History Museum in London, where a team of scientists, led by Dr. Ashley King, will be studying it at the Diamond Light Source, which is the UK’s national synchrotron.

 

Now, you might be wondering, what exactly is a synchrotron? Well, think of it as a super high-tech microscope that allows scientists to see things at an incredibly detailed level. The synchrotron at Diamond is called the Dual Imaging And Diffraction (DIAD) instrument, and it can extract information about the chemical composition and internal structure of the grain without destroying it. Pretty cool, right?

 

By studying this grain, scientists hope to learn more about the asteroid Bennu and the origins of our solar system. They believe that asteroids like Bennu may have played a role in delivering important components, like water and compounds necessary for life, to Earth billions of years ago. So, this research could help us understand how our planet formed and how life itself began. Talk about mind-blowing!

 

Dr. Ashley King and his team are especially excited to use the DIAD instrument because it will allow them to explore the mineralogy of Bennu in 3D. They want to understand the history of the asteroid and how it has changed over time.

 

The DIAD instrument at Diamond is truly one-of-a-kind. It combines X-ray powder diffraction and X-ray computed tomography to give scientists a wealth of information that they can’t get from any other instrument. This means that the analysis they do on the Bennu grain will be incredibly detailed and will provide us with new insights into the asteroid and our solar system.

 

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see what they discover! Science is all about exploration and uncovering the mysteries of the universe, and this research is a prime example of that. It’s amazing to think that a tiny grain from an asteroid can hold so much information and help us understand the world around us.

 

So, let’s keep our eyes peeled for updates on this groundbreaking research. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll have the chance to study asteroids and unravel the secrets of the universe yourself. The possibilities are endless!

SOURCE: Possible first ever synchrotron-based analysis of asteroid Bennu to be performed

https://phys.org/news/2023-12-synchrotron-based-analysis-asteroid-bennu.html

FAQ’s

Question:

What is a synchrotron?

Answer:

A synchrotron is a high-tech scientific instrument that functions like a super microscope, allowing scientists to see things at a detailed level. The synchrotron at Diamond, called the DIAD instrument, can extract information about the chemical composition and internal structure of the asteroid grain without destroying it.

Question:

What are scientists hoping to learn by studying the asteroid grain?

Answer:

Scientists hope to learn more about the asteroid Bennu and the origins of our solar system. They believe that asteroids like Bennu may have delivered important components necessary for life to Earth billions of years ago. By studying the grain, they aim to understand how our planet formed and how life began.

Question:

What is the DIAD instrument at Diamond and why is it unique?

Answer:

The DIAD instrument at Diamond combines X-ray powder diffraction and X-ray computed tomography to provide scientists with detailed information about the mineralogy and structure of the asteroid. It is unique because it offers insights that cannot be obtained from any other instrument.

Question:

Who is leading the research on the asteroid grain?

Answer:

Dr. Ashley King and his team are leading the research on the asteroid grain at the Natural History Museum in London. They will be using the DIAD instrument at Diamond to analyze the grain and explore its mineralogy in 3D.

Question:

What could the research on the asteroid grain potentially uncover?

Answer:

The research on the asteroid grain could potentially uncover valuable insights into the history of Bennu and how it has changed over time. It may also provide new information about the formation of our solar system and the role of asteroids in delivering essential components to Earth.



Related Wikipedia Articles

Topics: Asteroid Bennu, Diamond Light Source (synchrotron), Dr. Ashley King

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