Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Volume 15 Issue 6, June 2022

Bennu’s active surface

The OSIRIS REx spacecraft’s observations of the rubble-pile asteroid Bennu reveal a weak and active surface undergoing rapid evolution. Bennu’s rugged geology — as imaged by the MapCam instrument onboard the spacecraft on 16 December 2018 — shows a surface littered with boulders, which cast long shadows owing to the high phase angle. Near the horizon, two large bowl-shaped craters can be seen: Ohnivak (~40 m diameter) and Alicanto (~60 m diameter).

see Bierhaus et al. , Perry et al. , Delbo et al. and News & Views by Arakawa

Image: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona. Cover Design: Alex Wing.

Editorial

  • Recent missions to the rubble-pile asteroids Bennu and Ryugu have revealed asteroid surfaces that continue to be actively modified by a variety of processes while also recording the geologic history of these small bodies.

    Collection:

    Editorial

    Advertisement

Top of page ⤴

News & Views

  • The surface of the asteroid Bennu is so weakly bonded that rockslide avalanches are easily triggered by small body impacts, and boulders fractured due to diurnal heating and cooling are readily dislodged. The result is a surface under continuous renewal.

    • Masahiko Arakawa

    Collection:

    News & Views
Top of page ⤴

Research Briefings

  • This study shows that by stabilizing the soil, biological soil crusts reduce global atmospheric dust emissions by 60%, corresponding to ~700 Tg of dust per year. According to models of biocrust cover loss, this effect will be reduced in the future, leading to increases in not only dust emissions but also global radiative cooling.

    Research Briefing
  • In a simulation with a state-of-the-art climate model, obstruction of the ocean gateways in the Canadian archipelago due to ice-sheet growth reroutes currents and alters North Atlantic Ocean conditions, permitting glacial inception in Scandinavia. This mechanism could help to explain periods of rapid ice-sheet growth in Earth’s history.

    Research Briefing
Top of page ⤴

Articles

Top of page ⤴

Amendments & Corrections

Top of page ⤴

Search

Quick links