NASA's OSIRIS-REx Captures Amazing Photos Of Asteroid Bennu, Most Detailed Yet

Olive Hawkins
February 1, 2019

During his stay in orbit of the asteroid OSIRIS-Rex needs to take pictures of the asteroid, to draw up his map and once to touch on its surface in order to collect soil samples.

NASA's OSIRIS-REx asteroid probe has already had quite an eventful year.

Just days after reaching Bennu, OSIRIS-REx sent back groundbreaking data revealing that the asteroid contains water.

"These two OpNav images of Bennu's southern hemisphere, which each have an exposure time of about 1.4 milliseconds, were captured January 17 from a distance of about one mile", NASA writes.

Bennu is so small it possesses a weak gravitational field which is why the NavCam 1 is so critical to keeping pace with Bennu and maintaining the rather hard orbit.

This image of Bennu was captured on January 17, 2019.

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

Bennu, an asteroid that sits 72,000 miles from Earth, is billions of years old, and scientists hope to uncover how life formed on Earth by studying the rock's chemical makeup.

With the help of samples provided by NASA's OSIRIS-REx, scientists will be able to learn more about the formation of asteroids, which in turn would help in understanding its composition and unlocking clues about the early solar system.

This will mark the United States' first asteroid sample-return mission. Although there are plenty of images that the craft managed to capture successfully, however as of now NASA has released only two of these so far. Hayabusa2, its successor, is now on asteroid Ryugu (1999 JU3) and is set to depart with more samples in December, the BBC reported.

In the pictures you can see the rocky surface of the asteroid. 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. It will then travel to the asteroid Ceres, arriving in 2015.

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