Asteroid Bennu Features New Name as Mythical Birds

Asteroid Bennu Features New Name as Mythical Birds

NASA has decided a new name of the surface features on asteroid Bennu as “Mythical Birds”.  NASA’s team of OSIRIS-Rex and the International Astronomical Union’s Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN) approved the theme “birds and bird-like creatures in mythology” for naming surface features on asteroid (101955) Bennu.

This is the real fact that OSIRIS-REx is NASA’s first mission to bring a sample from an asteroid back to Earth. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has been mapping Bennu’s surface since its arrival on Dec. 3, 2018, searching a site from which to take a sample.

A little about Bennu!

Bennu is the smallest body in the solar system to be orbited and surveyed by a spacecraft at close range. The named features on Bennu has some classification types, such as craters, dorsa (peaks or ridges), fossae (grooves or trenches) and saxa (rocks and boulders).

According to NASA [The last of these types – saxum – is a new feature classification that the IAU introduced earlier this year for small, rocky asteroids like Ryugu and Bennu. These surface features on Bennu will be named after mythological birds and bird-like creatures, complementing the mission’s existing naming theme, which is rooted in Egyptian mythology].

One of the interesting facts about the asteroid Bennu is its name. The name was decided by a 9-year-old boy from North Carolina who won the contest of “Name that Asteroid”. In 2013 the boy, Michael Puzio won the contest by suggesting the name of Bennu. He explained the spacecraft’s Touch-and-Go Sample Mechanism (TAGSAM) arm and solar panels look like the neck and wings in illustrations of Bennu, whom ancient Egyptians usually demostrated as a gray heron.

Bennu is the living symbol of Osiris as well as the ancient Egyptian deity linked with the Sun.

Source: Text; NASA

Image credit; NASA