The Newest Pictures of Asteroid Bennu Are Unreal

Mindy Sparks
February 1, 2019

After arriving at asteroid 101955 Bennu on December 3 a year ago, NASA's OSIRIS-REx is still on an ongoing mission to orbit and observe the carbon-rich rock. Prior to NASA's OSIRIS-REx, the first spacecraft to bring back samples from an asteroid was Japan's Hayabusa back in 2010.

OSIRIS-REx will orbit Bennu for the rest of the year before approaching close enough to snatch a rock sample from the asteroid's surface.

"During this phase, OSIRIS-REx's NavCam 1 camera is regularly imaging Bennu's surface, even though its scientific camera suite (OCAMS) is not collecting data", the OSIRIS-REx team members said.

At 2:43 p.m. EST (7:43 GMT) on December 31, the spacecraft successfully entered a one-mile (1.75 km) orbit around the asteroid.

This image of Bennu was captured on January 17, 2019. Recently this spacecraft had released some of the latest images of this asteroid. Check out the new asteroid Bennu images below. The photo was taken while OSIRIS-REx was preparing for orbit.

Here are the images in full, which show two views of Bennu's south pole captured with a 1/700 second shutter speed.

The space probe aims to help scientists understand what makes up the asteroids that whiz past our planet. The craft will collect at least two ounces of samples from the asteroid and bring it back to Earth in 2023.

NASA has released new images of asteroid Bennu taken only from a mile away. Hayabusa2, its successor, is now on asteroid Ryugu (1999 JU3) and is set to depart with more samples in December, the BBC reported. According to the YouTube video they just uploaded, the organizations want to hit Didymoon, a small asteroid orbiting a larger one, with a probe, and see what happens. Pictured: In this handout from NASA, the giant asteroid Vesta is seen in an image taken from the NASA Dawn spacecraft about 3,200 miles above the surface July 24, 2011 in Space. While the push sunlight provides is tiny, it could build up over time and eventually change the path an asteroid travels.

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