NASA Asteroid Probe Locates 10,500-Year-Old Ruins

(NASA/Handout via Reuters)

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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Cameras developed by NASA for an asteroid probe located 10,500 year old stone age ruins in Oklahoma for archaeologists.

These cameras were developed for NASA’s  Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission, which allowed archaeologists to “see structures or features that were so overgrown that they wouldn’t be obvious at all to someone on the ground.”

Using the new data, archaeologists were able to figure out where they should dig in Oklahoma to discover the ancient ruins.

The cameras also allowed archologists to survey parts of Central America to find multiple structures including pyramids, a plaza, a possible ball court, and many houses in a dense rainforest as well as discover previously unknown settlements in New England.

OSIRIS REx will travel to the asteriod Bennu in 2018 and return to Earth in 2023. The probe will spend a year studying the asteroid’s chemical makeup, mineralogy and geology. Scientists are hopeful that the data obtained will help calculate odds of the asteroid eventually colliding with Earth.

The asteroid is around 500 meters in diameter and travels around the sun at 63,000 miles per hour, which is enough to do serious damage if it strikes Earth. The asteroid has a small chance of getting dangerously close to Earth in 2135.

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