NASA Probe Snaps 1st Photos from Just a Mile Above Asteroid Bennu and the View's AMAZING! | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


NASA Probe Snaps 1st Photos from Just a Mile Above Asteroid Bennu and the View's AMAZING!

NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission is orbiting an asteroid closer than any spacecraft has ever orbited a body — and it shows in an incredible pair of photographs that the team released yesterday (Jan. 24).

The spacecraft slipped into orbit around the asteroid, called Bennu, on Dec. 31, after the team carefully mapped the object to design a safe path for the probe. That was a challenge, since Bennu is the smallest space rock that's ever been orbited.

But the dangerous maneuver has paid off. OSIRIS-REx is orbiting just about 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) above Bennu's surface, giving its cameras an incredible view of the asteroid's rocky surface. Scientists believe that rugged shape is the result of Bennu having formed from a bunch of rubble loosely clumped together. [The Greatest Asteroid Encounters of All Time!]

The two images shown here were taken by an instrument called NavCam, which is the main camera the team uses to steer the spacecraft. The images, snapped on Jan. 17, show Bennu's south pole.

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