NASA’s first asteroid-sampling mission OSIRIS-REx has Seized an Amazing image of the Earth, the Press reported.
Bennu is the tiniest ever celestial figure to be orbited by a spacecraft.
The film shows the asteroid Bennu, leading right, roughly 43 kilometres in the spacecraft, along with the Earth and moon, bottom left, over 110 million kilometres away.
The tiny asteroid – barely 500 meters across – appears as a big glowing blob from the long-exposure photo released last week, ” the report said.
Launched from Florida in 2016, OSIRIS-REx spacecraft attained Bennu on December 3, 2018 after travelling over one billion miles through space. The spacecraft will spend nearly a year surveying the space rock .
On January 1, 2019, the spacecraft, 110 million kilometres away, completed one, eight-second burn of its thrusters. It will circle Bennu roughly 1.75 kilometres from its center, closer than any other spacecraft has come to its celestial object of research.
Previously, the nearest orbit of a planetary body was May 2016, when the Rosetta spacecraft orbited approximately seven kilometres in the centre of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
The spacecraft is scheduled to orbit Bennu via mid-February in a leisurely 62 hours each orbit.
The OSIRIS-REx team will resume science operations in late February.
At the point, the spacecraft will perform a series of close flybys of Bennu for several weeks to shoot high-resolution pictures of each square inch of the asteroid to help select a sampling website.
During the summer of 2020, the spacecraft will briefly touch the surface of Bennu to recover a sample.
The OSIRIS-REx mission is scheduled to deliver the sample to Earth in September 2023.