"Bennu Asteroid" by NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona / Public Domain

This Is NASA’s Best View Yet (and Closest, Too!) of Asteroid Bennu

Jun 19, 2019

By Meghan Bartels

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft inched closer still to an asteroid called Bennu, breaking the record it set previously — but the real reward is the stunning photographs the probe has captured since the maneuver.

The spacecraft first slipped into orbit around Bennu, a near-Earth asteroid, on Dec. 31. At the time, the probe became the vehicle orbiting the smallest object to date. (Smaller objects are trickier to safely orbit.)

But that was only the beginning for the daredevil spacecraft, which on June 13 maneuvered itself into a new orbit just 0.4 miles (less than 700 meters) above the asteroid’s surface. That successful approach let OSIRIS-REx break its own record for closest orbit of an object.

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