Osiris Rex and Bennu

On September 8th, 2016, a rather small spacecraft was launched with the ultimate goal of landing on an asteroid and bringing back a chunk of it for study on Earth. The spacecraft, named Osiris Rex, is currently in orbit around the asteroid, Bennu, searching for a save place to land. Hopefully, later in 2020, it will descend to the surface, reach out and grab a rock or two, and then start its voyage back to Earth. The image above shows the spacecraft in orbit - the purple lines represent its prior motions.

Credit: Rendered with OpenSpace, by James Hedberg. Bennu Texture by NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona,

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

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