NASA's OSIRIS-REx probe that is on a mission to explore asteroid Bennu has now discovered traces of water near the skyscraper-sized space body. As per reports, the spacecraft that flew last week within a scant 12 miles of the asteroid has found traces of hydrogen and oxygen molecules, an indication that water may be stored in the rogue space entity.
It should be noted that water is the key ingredient that plays a crucial role in sustaining life in planets, and experts believe that more studies about asteroid Bennu will unveil some mysteries behind the origin of life on earth. As per space experts, asteroids and comets that crashed on earth in the ancient days might have delivered organic compounds and water that in turn resulted in the formation of life on the planet.
NASA has launched OSIRIS-REx in 2016 to explore asteroid Bennu which is now 1.4 million miles away from the earth. The NASA team who is in charge of this probe are also planning to return some materials from the asteroid so that more studies can be done to know more about the composition of rogue asteroids that may be lurking in abundance across the solar system.
"We have found the water-rich minerals from the early solar system, which is exactly the kind of sample we were going out there to find and ultimately bring back to Earth," said Dante Lauretta, a planetary scientist at the University of Arizona and the OSIRIS-REx mission's principal investigator, Reuters reports.
Amy Simon, a scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland assured that the materials returned from the asteroid to the earth could provide crucial information about the history and evolution of the solar system.
Experts also speculate that asteroid Bennu could hit the earth within the next 150 years. As per space experts, there is a one in 2700 chance of the asteroid slamming devastatingly on earth, and if their predictions become a reality it could result in massive destructions in all nooks of the globe.