Because high resolution images show an asteroid Bennu is actually made up of rocks, not sand, as scientists originally predicted – and this creates a problem for the Osiris lander, which is about to reach the surface. In fact, the shocking revelation amazes the world of science.
The NASA Osiris-REX probe maps the unique surface of the asteroid before its planned landing next year.
But the ship was loaded with tools to land on the sand and collect a "sand-like beach, substance" – the hyper rocky terrain has already thrown scientists.
NASA chief Rich Burns says, "Although Osiris-REX is designed to collect an asteroid sample with a beach-like area."
But NASA has been delighted with the Osiri mission so far
after launching in September
The 20-foot machine can travel up to 19,000 mph and bosses are confident that the probe will handle the unexpected terrain.
Mr Burns said: "The exceptional performance on the fly so far shows that we will be able to meet the challenge posed by Bennu's solid surface.
" This extremely fast performance covers not only spacecraft and instruments, but also a team that continues to handle every challenge Bennu throws at us. "
READ MORE: Apocalypse Shock: NASA's Bold Landing Mission to Bennu
Nightingale, one of the potential Lands ng sites, is located in the north of Aste , suggesting that the material would be good to collect.
Kingfisher, another proposed landing site, is surrounded by large rocks, with a small 8-meter landing crater.
But the area has a strong spectral signature that shows experts an abundance of hydrated material.
The tension has grown between an object that is safe to land on a ship for scientific gain and interest.
Samples will be collected from the Touch and Go sampling mechanism (TAGASM), which uses a 3.4-meter arm.
When this touches the surface, the short nitrogen bursts will stir up the collection materials.
Once the samples have been collected, the ship will leave the asteroid in March 2021, and the capsules return to Earth in September 2023.
Dante Lorette of the University of Arizona Tucson says, "We knew that Benn would surprise us so we came prepared for whatever we could find.
" As with any research mission, dealing with the unknown requires flexibility, resources and ingenuity."