back to article Shine on you crazy diamond: We don't know who needs to hear it but NASA's explained the weird shape of the Bennu asteroid

Speckles of dirt kicked up from Bennu’s surface can stay suspended in space and sometimes they even orbit the asteroid, only to come crashing back down onto its equator, giving it its spinning-top or diamond-like shape. The phenomenon was spotted last year. Scientists studying images of Bennu snapped by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx …

  1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    "crashing" back down?

    The difference between orbital velocity and spin at the equator is under 2cm/s.

    1. HildyJ Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: "crashing" back down?

      I don't know. When I drink my whiskey at 2cm/s, I come crashing down.

  2. Symon Silver badge
    Coat

    Discworld.

    That's how it was made.

    1. Zebo-the-Fat

      Re: Discworld.

      but.... the turtle and elephants??

  3. Eclectic Man Bronze badge
    Coat

    Aww

    And here I was hoping they had found a giant Space-Wombat and that Bennu is its poo:

    https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2018/11/wombat-poop-cube-why-is-it-square-shaped/

    (All together now:

    "It's life, Jim, but not as we know it.")

    (I'll get my coat, its the one with the Star Trek communicator badge.)

  4. strum

    Turns out - that equatorial bulge is just a Bennu hill.

  5. Jay Lenovo

    Not fat, just gravity

    I wonder if this theory explains why fast food always manages to fall/drip onto your belly?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Not fat, just gravity

      Shouldn't your title read "just gravy"?

  6. MOH

    Interesting. Both as an explanation of the asteroid shape, but it also has personal ramifications. The mirror shows a thinning of material from my northern pole, and I've noticed a similar accumulation of material resulting in a bulging out around my equator, particularly in recent months since I'm at home much more often. I'm relieved to know this is just down to solar radiation and my microgravity environment.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      But how fast do you spin?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I have more of a comet thing going on. I've been outgassing. Must be proximity to the sun. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the beer.

  7. DanceMan

    Will the next mission include a robotic dustpan and broom?

    1. Eclectic Man Bronze badge

      I think the Japanese probe has collected some asteroid or comet dust (too tired / lazy to check) to be returned to good old Earth and introduce alien pathogens which will take over the entire planet and make it ready for our overlords to arrive, or some such thing.

    2. the Jim bloke Silver badge
      Coat

      Yes, but it will be labelled as a vacuum cleaner

  8. Trigonoceps occipitalis

    "really close to the surface and just misses"

    A bit like flying then?

    1. Celeste Reinard

      Re: "really close to the surface and just misses"

      the trick is, indeed, to get 'distracted' at the right moment.

  9. Umbracorn

    Just logged in to say the comments are brilliant today - sparkling, like space dust glitter in the dark solar wind.

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