United States

NASA needs help deciding where to land on this asteroid

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission has already accomplished a lot since arriving at the space rock known as Bennu late last year. The spacecraft successfully entered orbit around the asteroid, scanned its surface with a laser and learned a lot about its surface. But its mission is far from over and eventually, the probe will need to pull off a daring sample-gathering maneuver in order to return material from the rock’s surface back to Earth. The mission team was surprised to see just how rocky the surface of Bennu was and the debris-strewn outer layer is going to complicate the already-tricky sample-gathering task. Now, NASA is asking for our help in deciding where it should touch down. One of the biggest challenges for the OSIRIS-REx tea ...